I read an interesting survey this week that has me worried. According to latest research by OnePoll, 92% of British women are suffering from confidence issues that are potentially holding them back in the workplace. The survey found that almost half of respondents felt they would be further on in their career if they were more confident, while a quarter said they would be at a more senior level if ‘freed of their self-doubt’.

The reason this concerns me is, in my experience, the majority of current work environments aren’t necessarily conducive to a diverse workforce. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, many organisations are stuck in a culture that attracts similar talent and skills, rather than a varying range of individuals. When you add this to the vast numbers reported by OnePoll as suffering from a lack of confidence, the situation escalates. With many female entrepreneurs struggling to overcome their self-doubt and organisations failing to provide an attractive diverse environment, is it so surprising that true diversity is almost non-existent?

So how can we address this? The solution, as I’m sure many of you have heard me quoting previously, is to help business leaders and decision makers experience exclusion to truly relate to and recognise the damage they could cause their business through this limited talent attraction approach. I’ve provided some fantastic examples I’ve heard from senior HRD’s in the past, but if that has yet to convince you, consider the CIPD’s latest report in its three part series on entrepreneurial practices: Inspiring female entrepreneurs.

In this the CIPD highlights that there are currently more than 2.4 million unemployed women who want to work and that if there were as many female entrepreneurs as there are male entrepreneurs, GDP could be boosted by 10% by 2030. When you consider these numbers, this is a massive talent pool that can contribute to a significant increase in a company’s profit pool. Ask yourself and your co-workers, then, can you really afford to exclude this group of skills when they can contribute so much?

Information like this, and first-hand experience of exclusion, will arm HR professionals with the tools they need to really fight the war on diversity at board level. By putting the impact exclusion can have on a business into figures or personal experiences, we will all be better placed to bring senior decision makers on board with creating a diverse workforce. So arm yourselves and get fighting for diversity!

About Helena Parry