Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
September 16, 2019
The importance of diversity to our nation’s prosperity and competitiveness was on full display earlier this month as public- and private-sector leaders celebrated Diversity Week. At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we believe that the moral case for greater diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace is indisputable—and just as sound is the business case.
According to a revealing study from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the American economy stands to gain $8 trillion by 2050 simply by closing the racial equity gap. Moreover, businesses that recognize and embrace the value of inclusion consistently perform better across multiple financial metrics. Research shows, for example, a strong correlation between diversity in leadership and quarterly earnings. For every 10% increase in racial and ethnic diversity on a company’s senior executive team, earnings before interest and taxes rise 0.8%.
What’s more, companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity on executive teams are 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability. There is also mounting evidence that greater diversity leads to a healthier workplace culture and better business outcomes.
The Chamber is focused on fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion both within our own ranks and throughout the business community. To help more organizations close the equity gap, we are engaging and educating companies about the economic imperatives for greater diversity.
We are providing businesses with the tools and resources they need to foster greater racial, ethnic, and gender representation in their workforces, boardrooms, and C-Suites. To help companies continue to lead in this effort, we have been building a national network to promote inclusion and equality through several strategic partnerships and programs. This includes a $1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation that has helped facilitate a dialogue in the business community on the benefits of racial equity and how best to achieve it.
The Chamber is also partnering with Howard University and other historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions to promote diversity across all levels of business. Through our Next-Gen Business Partnership, for instance, we are introducing the nation’s top minority students to new career opportunities in business. And in cooperation with the Minority Business Development Agency, we are strengthening the growth of minority-owned enterprises.
Building diversity is not only the right thing to do – it is the smart thing for business. Whether on Capitol Hill or in the boardroom, we will continue to champion the inclusive policies that extend freedom and economic opportunity to all Americans.