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How can businesses find new opportunities as the UK’s population changes?

Here at Big Voice Communications we are big fans of equality, diversity and inclusion consultancy EW Group’s Reworked podcast.

We read a lot about equality, diversity and inclusion, but it’s also great to hear about it too.

In a recent podcast, EW Group’s Managing Director Rachael Wilson spoke to Aaqil Ahmed about demographic change in the UK and how if offers new opportunities for business growth.

Aaqil is an expert in this area. He is the former Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC and Commissioning Editor at Channel 4.

He now works as a Professor of Media at the University of Bolton and he specialises in helping businesses find new opportunities to grow their reach in response to demographic change.

He also helps them to understand why they need to develop their cultural literacy. Here are our highlights of six the key points that Aaqil made in the EW Reworked podcast.

#1 Current levels of diversity in the UK

Aaqil quoted figures stating that 37 per cent of people who live in London were born outside the UK. For the rest of the country this figure stands at around 13-14 per cent.

This means that brands and content producers like news organisations need to think about the specific needs and the culture of these audiences.

#2 Population Projections

Population projections predict that by 2050 40 per cent of the UK population will come from a migrant background.

In Germany, that figure will be 25 per cent, whilst in the Netherlands it will be 30 per cent. Clearly, businesses need to be prepared for this. Those that are stand to grow substantially by winning new customers and growing their markets.

#2 Age Profiles

Nine out of ten of the world’s countries in the world with the oldest populations are western European countries. In the UK the birth rate is falling, we have an ageing population and migration will continue to make our population more diverse.

This means as people live longer they will continue to consume good and services, which represents an opportunity for businesses.

#4 What is Cultural Literacy?

You don’t need to be an expert about the cultures of the diverse range of ethnic and religious groups who live in the UK. But you should make an effort to understand a little about them and their values, and acknowledge this in the way you behave.

This is what’s now known as cultural literacy and it’s as relevant for businesses as it is with individuals.

#5 Cultural Literacy in Practice

Aaqil talked about Marks & Spencer, which conducted research with consumers from diverse backgrounds, including Muslims, to find out what type of clothing they wanted from the high street retailer.

The research found that these consumers wanted modest clothing (e.g. long skirts that reach the ankles of the person wearing them). So Marks & Spencer curated a range of modest clothes from its existing collection and positioned them as a modest clothing range.

This led to great success with sales of the range and helped Marks & Spencer to reach new groups of customers.

#6 Opening up services to more people

During Ramadan things happen later in the day because sleeping patterns are disrupted. So in Muslim countries, supermarkets will open later and shut later.

In areas of the UK with high Muslim populations there is great potential for shops and shopping centres to open and close later to accommodate customers.

This is already happening in certain areas of cities with high Muslim populations like Birmingham and London. It’s a great way for businesses to win more customers by showing they understand their needs and are willing to cater for them.

Need help to make your communications accessible and inclusive to comply with the law and attract new customers? Contact us now.