Diversity in the workplace is on Manchester’s agenda after a debate centred on how it can drive business growth.

OBI Property teamed up with Allied London to host the discussion at the latter’s development Enterprise City, on the site of the former Granada Studios.

Chaired by Kirsty Styles, talent and skills lead for Tech North, the panel comprised Naomi Timperley, director and co-founder, Tech North Advocates; Kirsty Devlin, business development manager, Webantic; Vimla Appadoo, service designer, Department for Work and Pensions; and Mylo Kaye, chief executive, Dreamr.

Diversity is a key issue facing Manchester businesses, particularly those experiencing fast growth,” said Joe Averill of OBI Property.

“The panellists and audience at our event were already clearly engaged in providing encouraging and positive working environments and it is great to be able to share that with a wider audience.”

More than 100 audience members joined in the debate, reaching a consensus that while inequality in gender, race, age and class remain a huge area for everyone to tackle, there are simple steps any business or individual can take to move diversity forward.

They include encouraging discussions about diversity, gender and race; ensuring the language of job descriptions are reviewed properly, as overly masculine words can put off applicants; using social media to share positive examples and articles of people and businesses doing amazing things to promote diversity; and involvement in mentoring programmes for young people as confidence and self-belief are key.

Daisy Barnes of Allied London said: “ECUK will continue support diversity in Manchester over the coming 12 months.

“Diversity is something everyone needs to be positively supporting, not just because without it the city is missing out on major talent, but because it makes business sense too.”