Brewer Smith Brewer Group (BSBG) has released employee statistics covering the last decade, which serve to demonstrate the group’s ongoing commitment to diversity in the workplace. Since 2007, BSBG has reported a 43% increase in the number of female employees, as well as a 328% increase in different employee nationalities.
Diversity and inclusion play an important role in the way BSBG operates; the company began an international expansion programme last year, opening its first office in Asia, located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This was followed by the establishment of BSBL, an associated company of BSBG, located in London, and the opening of a new design studio in Athens, Greece. The BSBG vision is: “To set the highest standard of design and delivery internationally”, and as Partner Andrew Bereza explains, “For us it comes down to what we’re trying to create, and what we’re trying to achieve. If we are unable to understand or communicate effectively with different cultures, how is it possible to design and deliver architecture internationally? Diversity represents a foundation upon which companies can be built, and it’s hugely important to us as we strive to remain at the forefront of the international architecture industry.”
A McKinsey & Company report published in 2015 states that companies with a diverse workforce have a 95% higher return on equity than those without. Different ethnic and cultural backgrounds working side-by-side give companies the ability to remain relevant; offering solutions that benefit from the input of creative minds with a uniquely different set of influences and insight. Diversity is a huge goal for BSBG; regarded as integral to the company’s culture. This has seen a great increase in the number of nationalities employed across the group, as well as the number of female employees. The increase has correlated with the success of the company, both regionally and on the international stage. “It’s something we believe in, and something we actively seek out,” Bereza states.
If accomplishing diversity in the workplace can be tricky, sustaining it can be even more challenging. Most experts agree that this begins with providing inclusion and a sense of belonging to the company. But BSBG takes it a step further than this. Every opinion is heard, respected and valued; and everyone has a voice. It is the objective of the senior management teams to ensure there are no barriers to people achieving with the company, which is regarded as an important component in retaining a diverse pool of talent. Getting the best from a diverse team requires more than simply developing an understanding of where they come from and their culture; it’s about understanding the individual, their values, and what drives them. Within BSBG, the personal targets of individuals are more often than not aligned with those of the business. The company’s values make a connection with the people, and there is a shared commitment to providing the highest level of quality in the services BSBG provides – every member of the team is driven to preserve the group’s reputation for first class design and delivery.
The group’s headquarters is based in Dubai, which is the world’s most cosmopolitan city*. This is certainly a factor in BSBG’s employee diversity, as talent from across the world is attracted to the emirate because of the opportunities represented by living there. According to United Nations figures, more than 88% of the UAE’s workforce in 2015 came from overseas, compared with the global average of 13.2%. This figure serves to illustrate the advantage of operating in a country which welcomes, encourages and largely depends upon foreign talent, when trying to assemble a diverse employee base.
“There’s no question that Dubai, as a hub for international business, is the number one destination for a company that values workplace diversity,” says Bereza. “That’s where we started, and perhaps our location enabled diversity to go hand-in-hand with our development. But as we expand internationally into regions and cities where the number of foreign workers is more in line with the global average, our approach will remain the same. We know what integrated, culturally diverse and cohesive teams can achieve, and this is why we consider diversity a core component in accomplishing our group vision.”*according to an article published by World Atlas