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11th January, 2012

New figures showing the number of female directors in British boardrooms has reached its highest level suggest some of our largest companies are embracing the business benefits of diversity. With more organisations recognising the associated benefits of a diverse workforce mandatory quotas could become redundant, says Hays, the leading recruiting expert.

In the latest Hays Journal, the recruiter provides insight on how diversity in the workforce has an increasingly global relevance.

Charles Logan, Director at Hays, says, “Gender quotas are very much the public face of the diversity agenda and it is positive to see Britain is making progress. But many remain sceptical about the effectiveness of such quotas when it comes to driving performance, change and share value.

“Some organisations fear that a box-ticking approach to recruitment is not compatible with the aim of acquiring the very best talent. Others say that set quotas harm the notion of promotion on merit, can lead to ‘tokenism’ and can simply result in the same women taking on more boardroom roles, rather than bringing in new blood at higher levels. Yet the perception remains that not enough is done to promote gender diversity.

“Inclusion must continue to go beyond gender box-ticking. If employers are actively encouraged to seek out candidates who will bring different perspectives and ways of problem-solving to the mix, the net result would be that more women – as well as people from more varied cultural backgrounds – will hold senior roles. This brings the focus to the benefits diversity can bring a business.

“The business case is compelling – in March a global poll of 241 companies by law firm Eversheds concluded that there was a clear correlation between smaller, more diverse and more independent boardrooms and share price performance and company success.

“A genuine engagement and willingness to embrace diversity and inclusion when it comes to recruitment and promotion leads to the business benefit of different ways of thinking. But sometimes, it can require a shove from above, such as quotas, to encourage employers to make diversity reality.”

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About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.

As at 30 June 2011, the Group employed 7,620 staff operating from 255 offices in 31 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2011:
- the Group reported net fees of £672 million and operating profit** of £114 million;
- the Group placed around 60,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 190,000 people into temporary assignments;
- 31% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 33% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 36% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
- the temporary placement business represented 54% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 46% of net fees;
- Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the United Kingdom and the USA.

For further press information please contact:

Emma Price or Kathryn Jones
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