Looking ahead to the decline in the US workforce as Baby Boomers retire (60% by 2060), the fast-growing Hispanic community will be critical to filling this gap. The Society for Human Resource Management and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute report estimates that Hispanics will represent one of every two people entering the workforce by 2025. Educationally, 65% of jobs by 2020 will require post-secondary schooling or specialized training and Hispanics enroll in college at a rate equal to whites, positioning them to help meet this demand. Providing financial aid and other support for college, as well as support in the workplace to appreciate diversity, will pay rich dividends.
Researchers are learning that one driver of the global diversity of thought is geographic location, and that location can influence what information our brain pays attention to and how it solves problems. Research also confirms these different thinking orientations are learned and not genetic. For example, a study in China shows that differences in collectivist or individualistic mindsets aligns to which crop is farmed: people in rice-farming areas focus on team work and wheat-farming regions have a stronger orientation to independence. Worldwide research in this area is expanding, helping us to better understand and appreciate all the wonderfully unique ways humans think.
InHerSight data analysis finds men more satisfied than women with their jobs on 15 out of 16 metrics (such as women in leadership, growth opportunity, etc.). Founder and CEO Ursula Mead believes two parts of the problem are that historically “male-oriented and dominated workplaces” makes men seeing other men in leadership is “normal,” and that they neither see the world through a woman’s perspective or consciously look at how supported women are in their companies. Mead posits that men in leadership being role models for such things as parental leave, and incentives and accountability for supporting women will move equality forward.
OpenMic summarizes literature on the benefits of racial diversity in tech, highlighting studies by Intel and Dalberg which suggest that a diverse workforce has the potential to generate increases of $300-$370 billion annually in the tech sector. Despite an estimated $1.2 billion investment over the last 5 years by tech companies, underrepresented minorities are much less represented in tech than they are in the U.S. workforce as a whole and their departure rates from companies are, “... 3.5 times the rate of white men.” Suggestions for change include: increasing data transparency, establishing goals and connecting the achievement of them to employee pay, and enlisting the support of allies, especially white men.
The United Nations International Women’s Day theme was “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.” UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka writes, “… there are simple, big changes that must be made: for men to parent, for women to participate and for girls to be free to grow up equal to boys.” She further references the “digital revolution” adding, “We must see a significant shift in girls all over the world taking STEM subjects, if women are to compete successfully for high-paying ‘new collar’ jobs.” And she calls on public and private entities to adopt the Women’s Empowerment Principles.
In a paper published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers introduced and studied the efficacy of applying the “perceived intentionality of racial discrimination” to the two distinct approaches to mitigating racial hostility. They found that when intentional racism is involved, encouraging people to be “colorblind,” focusing instead on common purpose and unity was effective. For those who see discrimination having as its basis ignorance, the “multicultural” approach of embracing differences as a more effective strategy. They conclude that understanding the basis of bias and applying the correct approach is most effective.
The US ranks last of all developed countries in requiring paid family leave, leaving 100 million-plus employees without that benefit, resulting in 25% of new mothers returning to work 10 days after having a child. An advocacy group reports that 60 of the nation’s companies having the most employees either do not have or would not disclose their parental leave policy. In 2016, the trend continued for individual cities and states, and privately and publicly held companies (Etsy, EY [formerly Ernst & Young], Coca-Cola Company, American Express, Ikea, BASF) leading the way in expanding mandated parental leave. Research continues to find that the expense of such policies is more than offset by increasing the ability to attract and keep talent, reducing the costs of turnover, and increasing diversity.
McKinsey & Company identifies three critical factors to making progress on gender equity: persistence; CEO commitment informing all management levels; and “comprehensive transformation programs.” The study finds little progress toward gender equity – women in US companies make up 17% of executive committees and sit in less than 18% of board seats. In Western Europe, women hold the same percent of executive positions and are 32% of board members. Combining the findings of both the US and Western Europe, it finds only 7% of companies consider gender parity a top priority and an overwhelming majority of employees (88%) think their companies are not doing enough.
Professors at the Kellogg School of Management researched how class and gender affect getting interviews for internships at top law firms. Using the resume audit method (identical resumes except for the first names – James or Julia in this case), they confirmed that the firms preferred applicants from the higher, more wealthy echelons of society as indicated by extracurricular activities, i.e., polo versus country music. But that preference applied only to men. In subsequent interviews, the researchers learned that upper class women are passed over because of being perceived as the least committed segment of the pool and subject to “flight risk” to raise families. Their conclusions: “ditch” the extracurricular activities and accept only first name initials on resumes.
The National Center for Transgender Equality released its national survey, finding that, of those who have jobs, 30% say they were fired, denied promotion, or experienced mistreatment (verbally harassed, or assaulted physically or sexually) at work in the last year. Nationally, transgender people suffer significant psychological problems as a result of stigma and discrimination – 40% have attempted suicides in their lives, 9-times the national average. The survey also revealed that those supported by families experienced less psychological stress and fewer attempted suicide. Presumably, support at work could have similar results.