Investing in a Skilled and Diverse Workforce

Businesses who invest in skills and training with more employees from a range of age, ethnic and other diverse backgrounds are more innovative and productive.

In a nutshell

Investing in the skills of your workforce and employing a diverse workforce has clear benefits for your business. Organisations with a well-skilled workforce have a higher level of productivity with employees more innovative and resilient to change. Diverse organisations are better able to understand the needs of an increasingly diverse customer base. In turn, this will make them more attractive to talented employees in relatively untapped sections of the labour market.

What's the business benefit?

Investing in a skilled, diverse workforce has a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Increasing overall performance Having a skilled, and diverse workforce, with an inclusive and fair working environment is linked to generally higher levels of productivity.
  • Organisational reputation Improved diversity can offer competitive advantage, attracting customers who see themselves reflected in your workforce composition. For example, disabled people spend nearly 200 billion pounds per year in the UK, and the majority of disabled people have chosen not to spend in a business that does not cater to their needs.
  • Attracting new and retaining current employees Talented candidates from all walks of life are more likely to apply for roles in organisations that are inclusive, and better reflects society.

Why is this included in the Scottish Business Pledge?

A diverse workforce that reflects the diverse range of customers and community in which they are based are more creative, and more innovative. Having a wide range of skills and experience that reflects all of society including those with disabilities, from varying ethnic backgrounds and all of ages means that businesses are more likely to design products and services for a broader customer base.

Why is this good for Scotland?

Scotland is becoming increasingly diverse. Its working age population is getting older, is more likely to be disabled, and is increasingly ethnically and culturally diverse. Disabled people have the same skills, talents and drive as non-disabled people, and are a relatively untapped pool of labour. Utilising the talents of all of our people is key to ensuring that we achieve truly inclusive economic growth, making Scotland a better, fairer place to live and work.

What should I do now?

We will recognise your Business Pledge if you can demonstrate that you are taking steps to ensure your workforce is an inclusive and fair place to work.  Becoming an inclusive and diverse workplace cannot be done in one day. It will be the end result of a series of smaller intermediate steps, such as:

  • Routinely monitoring the diversity of your workforce, which can tell you how successful your organisation is in reaching out to, and promoting opportunities to, a range of Diversity monitoring could include monitoring your workforces age, disability status, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.
  • Having a Training and Development plan for your workforce supported by regular discussions about training needs.
  • Ensuring you are aware of service such as Access to Work, which can help you make adjustments to enable your disabled employees to perform to their best.
  • Ensuring that your recruitment and promotion processes are fit for purpose, enabling you to recruit and promote the best people for the job, irrespective of who they are.

Overall, it’s important to keep a sense of proportion when building a more skilled, inclusive, and diverse workplace. What works for one company may not for another, so tell us what the steps you want to take are and we can direct you to the right places.

What help is available if I can't make the commitment right now?

Skills Development Scotland’s Our Skillsforce can provide support and assistance on upskilling or retaining your workforce. Help to build recruitment and promotion processes that support a diverse workforce are available on Skills Development Scotland’s website.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced an online toolkit for employers to support them in managing pregnancy and maternity in the workplace. They have also launched ‘Working Forward’, a free-to-join nationwide campaign aimed at making experiences in the workplace better for pregnant women and new parents.

Family Friendly Working Scotland offer guidance and support to employers seeking to integrate flexible working into their workforce. Designing jobs with flexibility and adding the Happy to Talk Flexible Working strapline to relevant job adverts will help you optimise talent attraction and recruit and maintain diverse talent. Make a start by downloading the “Happy to Talk Flexible Working” strapline.

You can demonstrate how you’re promoting fairness and equality for LGBT employees by signing up to Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.

The two ticks scheme is a recognition given by Jobcentre Plus to employers based in Great Britain who have agreed to take action to meet five commitments regarding the employment, retention, training and career deployment of disabled employees. It is represented by the two ticks disability symbol that participating organisations are authorised to display.

Schemes such as Access to Work means that businesses can receive money for any extra costs incurred as a result of employing a person with a disability. If you want more information on employing people with disabilities into your workplace, Employability in Scotland can offer support.

Further help on building an enabling environment for disabled employees can be found here.