Executive summary Our “Diversity Matters” research looked at the relationship between the level of diversity (defined as a greater share of women and a more mixed ethnic/racial composition in the leadership of large companies) and company financial performance (measured as average EBIT 2010–2013).
The research is based on financial data and leadership demographics compiled for this purpose from hundreds of organizations and thousands of executives in the United Kingdom, Canada, Latin America, and the United States. The size of the dataset allows for results that are statistically significant and the analysis is the first that we are aware of that measures how much the relationship between diversity and performance is worth in terms of increased profitability. The analysis found a statistically significant relationship between a more diverse leadership team and better financial performance.
The companies in the top quartile of gender diversity were 15 percent more likely to have financial returns that were above their national industry median. Companies in the top quartile of racial/ethnic diversity were 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median. Companies in the bottom quartile for both gender and ethnicity/race were statistically less likely to achieve above-average financial returns than the average companies in the dataset (that is, they were not just not leading, they were lagging). The results varied by country and industry.