CEO Today Magazine June 2020 Edition 42 losses, child-care requirements, ability to work remotely and accessibility of medical and protective provisions. Different dimensions of impact for different demographics can also be observed from past pandemics, such as Ebola and Zika. Women and lower-income households are often the hardest hit, with women providing the majority of care to the ill, at greater cost to themselves, and living conditions and access to healthcare and medical provisions favouring those with greater financial resources. In the last week, information released about health worker deaths and patients in critical care has spurred questions as to whether COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people. While it is important to state that there is not currently enough data to substantiate this, speculation behind the apparent difference in severity for BAME patients and doctors includes theories of a biological, circumstantial and behavioural nature. The latter, quite disturbingly, including the immediate challenges, we store problems up for later, the price will be high and the damage much more difficult to reverse. We may not know what the “new normal” will look like, but we can be proactive in ensuring we are in the strongest possible position to face it. We are all in this together Part of our preparation must be to learn the lessons of the past. History has taught us that the impact of a down-turn - be it loss of income, falling property prices or government-induced austerity - are felt differently by different groups and for different lengths of time. The 2008 recession, for example, was more immediately felt by men in terms of job losses, yet the prolonged cuts to public spending meant lower wages for the female-dominated public sector and a reduction in policies & financial support for working mothers, such as childcare. Only two months into Britain’s COVID-19 lockdown and already we can recognise a more immediate impact for particular groups in terms of job Since the introduction of gender pay gap reporting in 2017, organisations have been held accountable to explain their progress, or lack of, toward achieving gender equality. We are in the early days of this practice and the full implications of public exposure remain to be seen. However, while still far from equal, multiple studies, including our own, have shown that that gender balance on boards across the private, public and third sectors is beginning to improve. As we face a global-scale public health crisis and ready ourselves for the inevitable social and economic fall-out, it is as important now, if not more so, that we don’t let diversity and inclusion slip off of our boardroom agendas. It would be all too easy to tell ourselves that during these unprecedented times, diversity & inclusion is a luxury add-on to which we can pay attention once the crisis is past. Not so. No good business strategy is based on a purely reactionary approach. If in our haste to manage By now, any HR leader, not living under a rock will have read reports and statistics that validate that Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is good for business. A quick Google search will return study findings fromMcKinsey - companies with greater racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry average, and Boston Consulting Group - companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation. Aside from the moral case, the evidence supporting the commercial case for greater D&I, at all seniority levels, is overwhelming. Prior to coronavirus becoming the recurring topic of conversation, organisations were not asking why, but how we attract, retain and benefit from diversity in our customer base andworkforce. It was therefore surprising to see theGovernment Equalities Office (GEO) and the Equality andHuman Right Commission (EHRC) suspend gender pay gap reporting regulations for this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How Diversity & Inclusion Will be Affected by COVID-19 Raj Tulsiani, Green Park VISION & STRATEGY

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