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Clarke Carlisle
Chairman of Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and ambassador of Kick It Out
Clarke  Carlisle

How football can learn from the private sector

Authors: Clarke Carlisle Clarke Carlisle, Chairman of Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and ambassador of Kick It Out

17 July 2013

Ethnic diversity in football has been in the headlines both on the pitch and in the stands in the last few years, often for the wrong reasons. But with professional football employing over 10,000 people in the UK alone, the issue of workforce diversity in the wider game also requires some attention.

With changing demographics, diversity is not something we can ignore and should, I think,embrace. The United Kingdom has experienced a subtle but significant change in its population in the last two decades. This means that only 20 per cent of the UK workforce is a white, able-bodied male, under 45 years old in full-time work.

In big cities around the UK the population from which many clubs draw their fans and their young playing talent are increasingly diverse. In 2010, nearly a third of London’s population was from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background and if current trends continue, this group will account for 80 per cent of the increase in London’s working age population.

These are all compelling reasons for employers, which is what all professional clubs are, of course, to try hard to ensure that their workforces reflect the demographic make-up of the communities where they are located. Yet there is a real concern that the profile of backroom, coaching, office and other staff employed by clubs may not be as diverse as they perhaps could be.

If they are not it is likely that they are missing out on the opportunity to benefit from the advantages which a diverse workforce can bring – greater creativity, a range of experiences and outlooks to draw upon and improved ability to reflect and satisfy the needs of a diverse customer base.

Many UK employers have found that workforce diversity brings these and other tangible business benefits. The 'Embrace Diversity…' event is one which gets under the skin of this issue, bring together a number of experts from business, the third sector as well as groups and individuals from the game itself to hear both what the compelling business arguments are for increased workforce diversity and how greater diversity can be achieved.

The event 'Embrace Diversity: Have you recognised the benefits of diversifying your workforce?' will be on 25 July 2013.