Promoting Equality And Diversity In The Workplace
Equality and diversity are ongoing issues in today’s workplace. Yes, vast progress has been made in both the business environment as well in society at large – you are much more likely to stand an equal chance at a job role than ever in the past, but there are still hurdles for many. Female, LGBT and non-white workers still face discrimination on a daily basis.
Causes for a gap in equality and diversity
There are a mix of reasons for a lack of diversity in the workplace. These can be divided into two areas – a bias in selection by employers, and a lack of available candidates. It is fair to say that for some groups, access to quality education is a problem, which makes it less likely that they will enroll in university courses that are demanding. Societal roles also play a part – women are still less likely to study certain subjects than men are, and this means fewer female candidates are available for employment in certain sectors. However, this is a much less relevant issue than it used to be.
Cultural issues within the workplace are an important contributing factor and often lead hiring managers to knowingly or unknowingly prefer certain candidates above others. It is not just in getting hired where you might find barriers, it is very common for people to feel passed over on the promotions ladder too. Often an existing gender bias in the workplace is perpetuated simply because it is already in place.
Who is currently tackling these issues
You will be happy to hear that workplace diversity and equality is being tackled from all corners. Employers ranging from state and federal through to businesses large and small are working to improve, in part because they recognize that diversity and equality is good for the workplace, but also due to outside organizations exerting pressure.
Organizations from the large and well known ACLU through to smaller outfits such as the Donald Burns Foundation are working to help individuals from all groups, including LGBT workers who are often silently suffering from discrimination at work as they are not necessarily represented by other equality advocates.
Improving diversity in the workplace
There is plenty that you can do to make your own workplace more diverse. If you oversee hiring and recruiting, think about setting up seminars for your colleagues to help them understand the issues around diversity and equality. Specific hiring policies can also help – focusing on recruiting from under represented communities can vastly improve the mix of people you employ, while removing names from the recruitment process at the initial stage can help prevent unintentional bias.
In cases where the pipeline of available candidates is not sufficient, think about directly sponsoring students in minority groups to enter their career of choice. You could go further and arrange seminars and programs at schools to help young people understand that the career of their choice is accessible. Just because the pipeline is empty does not mean your organization is unable to do anything to improve the future flow of candidates.
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