A diverse workforce can help to boost sales and attract new employees, according to new research.
A survey conducted for Jobcentre Plus found that 82 per cent of Scottish respondents believed it was important to have a diversity policy in place, while 61 per cent of customers said they would be more likely to use a business with a diverse workforce.
Over half of respondents claimed that businesses ought to be more proactive in their efforts to improve workforce diversity, although employers themselves seem more willing to recruit from diverse backgrounds, with 58 per cent claiming to employ lone parents, those with a background of long-term employment or members of ethnic minority groups.
Lesley Strathie, chief executive of the Department for Work and Pensions service, said: "Creating diverse workforces is about more than just legislative compliance and corporate responsibility - it's about better business.
"This research proves to employers that being committed to diversity is not a business choice, but a business imperative."
Ms Strathie said that, by broadening the scope of their recruitment base to reflect their local communities, employers could "plug skills gaps, improve retention and increase productivity".