It seems the C-suite is on board to boost the cause, as indicated in PwC’s annual CEO survey. Out of the two-thirds of CEOs whose companies have a formal diversity and inclusiveness strategy, 85% think this has actually improved the bottom line.
More than half (56%) also admitted that this has helped them compete in new industries or geographies.
“Views about diversity and inclusiveness seem to have reached a tipping point. No longer are they seen as ‘soft’ issues, but rather as crucial competitive capabilities,” said the report.
The most number of CEOs plan to focus their efforts in 2015 on diversity in gender. However, the study points to a broadening implication of this theme, as a similar number (32.4%) are planning to invest their efforts towards diversity in knowledge, skills and experience.
Diversity in ethnicity and nationality features next, followed by a focus on areas such as diversity in terms of attitude to career, diversity in age and disability.
The focus on diversity in knowledge and skills is not without reason. Four in every five CEOs (81%) surveyed said their organisations are now looking for a much broader range of skills than in the past.
Technological skills are especially sought after, with 75% of CEOs of the view that hiring and training strategies to integrate digital technologies are key to optimising spend on digital investments.
But while the demand is there, and half of CEOs have stated their intention to increase headcount in 2015, concerns about the availability of key skills are at an eight-year high.
As a result, the report finds that companies are searching in many more places for talent. More than three-fourths (78%) of CEOs stated their business always uses multiple channels to find talent, including online platforms and social networks.
Another 71% said their business actively searches in different geographies, industries and demographic segments. Most (81%) also said that they always look to equip employees with new skills, through continuous learning or mobility programmes.