Introducing diversity

What is diversity and why is it important?

What diversity is and why it's important are questions that every student applying for graduate jobs should ask.

What diversity is

Diversity means that everyone, regardless of their gender, ethnic background, social background, sexuality, disability or any other personal characteristic, is able to embark on the career path of their choice and progress as far as they want to, subject only to their abilities and ambitions. 

However, Elitist Britain, a report published in 2014 by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, states: “The sheer scale of the dominance of certain backgrounds [in influential and prestigious professional roles in the UK] raises questions about the degree to which the composition of the elite reflects merit.”

Why diversity is important

Depending on your personal circumstances, you may well feel that changing the state of affairs with regard to diversity outlined in the Elitist Britain report is significant to your personal career aspirations.

However, diversity is significant to your career regardless of your personal circumstances. It's widely recognised that organisations with a mix of people with different backgrounds and experiences offer their employees richer working lives and function better.

The Financial Times’ Gillian Tett has even argued that a lack of diversity in the finance industry and the resulting lack of different perspectives was one of the factors behind the 2008-9 financial crash and the subsequent economic downturn.

And if the UK's top graduate recruiters don't make enough of an effort to recruit a broader range of people, then the UK's economy  could suffer again, and potentially its political stability too.

Currently popular dystopian fantasies like The Hunger Games books and film franchise have shown the economically and politically explosive nature of a socially polarised society where wealth and power are the exclusive preserve of certain sections of society.

In the real world, meanwhile, events such as the rise of the Occupy movement show that economic inequality issues can quickly spark significant political turmoil.

By contrast, an influx of people from a broader range of backgrounds into top roles could make for some exciting positive changes to the UK's economy and society over the next couple of decades.