A diverse workforce can help your business thrive, writes AAI CEO Joy Lewis in Daily Business Magazine.

For too long, the business benefits of a diverse workforce and inclusive recruitment have been considered ‘soft’ or unimportant.  Perhaps a ‘nice to have’ but something that will not fundamentally improve business performance. 

That outdated view, however, is starting to change and is creating an opportunity for new types of recruitment methods and for businesses to thrive.

AAI has always been about inclusion and diversity, and now more than ever employers are coming to us looking to reach a wider talent market.  The scope of the work we do and the people we help means we have gone well beyond our initial mission – tackling unpaid internships (and our registered name of Adopt an Intern).

Our new umbrella brand, AAI EmployAbility, reflects our wider focus on inclusive recruitment. We run projects to support Corporate Social Responsibility; improving companies’ social impact with innovative programmes around the sustainability of small, local charities and diversity in the UK labour market (concentrating on disability, neurodiversity, women returners and minority ethnic communities). We also support employers to hire for any role up to £35k.

We continue to promote our open recruitment processes and, from startups to national industry leaders such as Diageo, we help businesses hire for potential and fresh ideas that will grow their businesses. Our shortlists are as diverse as our audience.

Our statistics speak for themselves.  We have filled 97% of roles, with 65% of successful applicants being women and 35% of applicants the first of their family to attend university.  We have done this via a mix of technology, skills and experience which ensures transparency and equality of opportunity in an increasingly competitive job market.

The reason for our shift is to meet the increasing demand and trend, recognised by Scottish Government and professional bodies such as the CIPD, which show businesses that take diversity and inclusion seriously increase both their market competitiveness and corporate reputation.

Businesses that want to be successful in the future will increasingly achieve that success by hiring a diverse workforce that can drive growth and productivity.

I encourage employers throughout the UK to get ahead of their competition and get in touch with us to discover how we can help.

Joy Lewis is chief executive of AAI EmployAbility Published in Daily Business Magazine 4 Dec 2019.

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