The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

Gender diversity is not just a moral obligation, it’s a sustainable growth plan for the golf industry worldwide.

Produced by (E) BrandConnect

Since the first ball was teed up outside of the British Isles in 1829 at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, golfers have trodden a global footprint. As of early 2019 there were golf courses open in 209 of the world’s 249 countries, with 534 new courses in development. The sport has become a multi-billion-dollar industry, but to continue on its growth trajectory it needs to appeal to new audiences and tap into a growing interest among women.

According to a recent survey there are as many as 37 million prospective new female players around the world, keen to take up the game. Syngenta, the firm who commissioned this survey, believe that tapping into this latent market could add as much as $35bn a year to the golf industry. Having a diverse customer base is a strategic necessity for a global business, but the benefits of promoting diversity are also evident in a company’s productivity and process.Increased company-wide innovation is one benefit, as employees from diverse backgrounds tend to approach problems from different perspectives. A study by Boston Consulting Group found that companies with more diverse management teams had 19% higher revenues from new products and services over a three-year period. Attracting the millennial workforce is another benefit. By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be millennials, and this group has a stronger focus on diversity than older generations.

According to a recent Deloitte survey, around half of millennials actively look for diversity and inclusion when sizing up potential employers. Gender equality is perhaps the most publicised issue in the diversity debate. And there are plenty of statistics to show that companies with more women in the C-suite are more profitable. According to the IMF, adding just one more woman in a firm’s senior management or corporate board – while keeping the size of the board unchanged – is associated with an 8-13% increase in profit.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has said that if women’s employment equalled men’s, economies would be more resilient and economic growth would be higher. (Lagarde has herself been a trailblazer for women in business. She was the first woman to become a finance minister of a G8 economy as well as being the first woman to head the IMF, and she has now been nominated as the first female President of the European Central Bank.) For DP World, diversity and inclusion are woven through the fabric of everything the company does, and these values go hand-in-hand with the company’s desire to create a better future for all. Take DP World London Gateway, for example.

This is the UK’s most sophisticated port and logistics park facility – but it isn’t just leading the way in terms of cutting edge technology. It’s also making a traditionally male-dominated sector more accessible to women. “The ports industry is changing as new technologies are introduced,” says DP World UK CEO Chris Lewis. “We were proud to employ and train the first female quay crane driver and now have the first ever female union representative in the ports industry.” Women’s empowerment is one of DP World’s priority growth strategies. On International Women’s Day in March, 2018, the company launched #DPWorld4Women, a campaign aimed at boosting female participation in the shipping and logistics industry.The campaign incorporates practical initiatives such as ensuring the facilities and tools are suitable for both genders, with strategic goals for hiring competent women and ensuring they receive mentorship from women in leadership positions across the company. “[Shipping and logistics] is an industry with strong gender stereotypes,” acknowledges DP World’s Group Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem. “However, we want to change these perceptions and be instrumental in unlocking women’s potential.

We know if women have the ambition and the drive, they can achieve anything, and DP World will support them.” But companies wanting to take DP World’s lead and bring more women into their workforce should realise this is not just a numbers game, according to Maha Al Qattan DP World SVP, People. “Quotas are out, and hiring competent women in key jobs where they can make a difference, is in,” she says, advising companies to engage senior leaders as champions for women, and giving women the opportunity to develop their own support networks. DP World’s commitment to diversity and inclusion extends to its involvement in the world of golf. In the UAE, the Emirates Golf Federation, with backing from DP World, is trying to bring golf to more young people, and in particular girls, as there is currently a shortage of female Emirati golfers.

In the UK, Women and Girls’ Golf Week in May was an example of the ways in which the women’s game is being promoted, telling the stories of women and girls who are involved in many different ways in the sport, celebrating their successes and challenging perceptions associated with women and girls’ golf. Disability is another important area when it comes to inclusivity – and it can also have an important impact on the bottom line. A new report by Accenture shows that companies that embrace best practices for employing and supporting more people with disabilities in their workforce outperform their peers.

Accenture’s analysis also reveals that US GDP could get a boost of up to US$25 billion if more people with disabilities joined the labour force. The economic benefits of disability inclusion go far beyond direct access to work. Supporting people with complex disabilities to undertake self-care or to help with household tasks, and enabling a child with disability to attend school all have broader benefits in opening up new opportunities and redistributing care burdens, with knock-on economic as well as social impacts. EDGA (formerly the European Disabled Golf Association) is a not-for-profit volunteer organisation that promotes golf for players with disability at every level.

This year, the inaugural EDGA Dubai Finale, running alongside the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, will see players with disability tackle the same course set up as the European Tour professionals. “The essence of our business is smarter trade to help build a better future for everyone. In golf, that means playing our part in opening up the sport to people of all ages, backgrounds, gender and ability,” says Daniel Van Otterdijk, Senior Vice-President, DP World Group Corporate Communications.Produced by (E) BrandConnect, a commercial division of The Economist Group, which operates separately from the editorial staffs of The Economist and The Economist Intelligence Unit. Neither (E) BrandConnect nor its affiliates accept any responsibility or liability for reliance by any party on this content.