As Bain’s inaugural chief diversity officer and global leader of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consulting practice, I am honored to have the opportunity to be a commissioner of the Business Commission to Tackle Inequality (BCTI), a multi-stakeholder coalition of organizations which puts addressing inequality at the heart of business’s agenda for sustainable growth.
Inequality is a systemic issue and the business community has unique capabilities to make an impact. The private sector can act as a change agent and drive change faster than governments and NGOs can do on their own. We’ve already seen the impact corporations can have to accelerate the needed transformation on broader ESG topics like carbon emissions and circularity. Now it’s time for businesses to commit similarly to creating more equitable outcomes in the workplace and their communities.
Corporations can make a direct impact on workforce representation of underrepresented groups because they have the jobs and career paths available if they work to improve access to those groups. However, achieving sustainable progress on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) inside an organization is challenging. Hiring employees from underrepresented groups is a critical first step, but ensuring that they develop, grow and thrive ultimately matters more. In our client work, we have seen a surge in interest for support in creating a more inclusive organizational system and a more equitable talent journey.
And mounting pressure from various stakeholders will continue to accelerate the corporate push in DEI across the globe based on recent research and reports. Specifically:
- Employees: Sixty-five percent of employees view an inclusive environment as “very important” when considering new roles.
- Investors: Sixty percent of surveyed private equity limited partners request DEI demographic data.
- Consumers: Two in three consumers across the UK, Germany, the US, China, and Brazil say companies and brands must demonstrate they are culturally aware and listening to the needs of their diverse customer base.
- Regulators: Multiple countries have recently enacted laws (or are considering doing so) that require companies to increase transparency in disclosing the diversity of their boards and the policies they have in place to improve their boards’ diversity.