Today diversity refers to far more than skin color and gender. It is a broad term used to refer to all kinds of differences. These differences include women in business, dual-career families, workers of color, older workers persons with disabilities, immigrants, young persons with limited education or skills, educational level of employees.
i. Racial & Ethical Groups
ii. Older Workers
v. Dual-career Families vi. Religions & Culture
vii. Persons with Disabilities viii. Immigrants
ix. Young persons with limited education or skills
x. Competitive advantage though work force diversity xi. Marketing
xii. Creativity, innovation, and problem solving
i. Racial & Ethical Groups: Workers of color often experience stereotypes about their group (Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, etc.). At times, they encounter misunderstandings and expectations based on ethnic or cultural differences.
ii. Older Workers—as the world population is growing older, a trend that is expected to continue through the year 2000. In addition, the trend toward earlier retirement appears to be reversing itself.
iii. Gender (Women in Business): Women represent almost 11.9 percent of corporate officers at largest companies. However, the number of women in entry and mid level managerial positions has risen from 34 percent in 1983 to 46 percent in 1998, meaning many more women are in the pipeline to executive spots. Today, there are more than 9 million women-owned businesses, up from 400,000 in 1972. The number of nontraditional, single-parent households in the United States is growing. Because more than half of all marriages today end in divorce, this trend is expected to continue. Often, one or more children are involved. Of course, there are always widows and widowers who have children as well, and there are some men and women who choose to raise children outside of wedlock.
iv. Education: Another form of diversity that is now found in the workplace is that of the educational level of employees. The United States is becoming a bipolar country with regard to education, with a growing number of very educated people on one side and an alarming increase in the illiteracy rate on the other.
v. Dual-Career Families: The increasing number of dual-career families presents both challenges and opportunities for organizations. As a result of this trend, some firms have revised their policies against nepotism to allow both partners to work for the same company. Other firms have developed polices to assist the spouse of an employee who is transferred. When a firm wishes to transfer an employee to another location, the employee’s spouse may be unwilling to give up a good position or may be unable to find an equivalent position in the new location. Some companies are offering assistance in finding a position for the spouse of a transferred employee.
vi. Religion and Culture: Due to globalization religion and culture based diversity is also increasing in organizations.
vii. Persons with disabilities: A handicap, or disability, limits the amount or kind of work a person can do or makes achievement unusually difficult. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities.
viii. Immigrants: Today the permitted level of legal immigration is increasing. Some are highly skilled and well educated, and others are only minimally qualified with little education. They have one thing in common—an eagerness to work. They have brought with them attitudes, values, and mores particular to their home-country cultures.
ix. Young persons with limited education or skills: Each year thousands of young, unskilled workers are hired, especially during peak periods, such as holiday buying seasons. In general, they have limited education—high school or less. More jobs can be de-skilled, making it possible for lower-skilled workers to do them.
x. Competitive advantage through Work Force Diversity: For many years’ organizations, the original impetus to diversify their workforces was social responsibility and legal necessity. Morally ethically it was right to do so. Today many organizations are approaching diversity efforts from a moral practical, business oriented perspective,. Increasingly, diversity can be a powerful tool for building competitive advantage. Companies with a reputation for providing opportunities for diverse workforce will have a competitive advantage in a labor market and will be sought out by the most qualified employees, In addition when employee believe their differences are not merely tolerated but valued , they may become more loyal, productive and committed.
xi. Marketing: Companies are realizing that consumers, like the workforce, are changing demographically.
Just as women and minorities may prefer to work for an employer that values diversity, they may prefer to patronize such organizations. A multicultural workforce can provide a company with greater knowledge of the preferences and consuming habits of thus market place. This knowledge can assist companies in designing products and developing market campaigns to meet those consumer needs. A diverse workforce can also give company competitive edge in a global economy by facilitating understanding of other customers, cultures, and market place needs.
xii. Creativity, innovation, and problem Solving: Work team diversity promotes creativity and innovation, because people from different backgrounds hold different perspective on issues. Diverse groups have a broader base of experience from which to approach problem; when effectively managed, they invent more options and create more solutions than homogeneous groups do. In addition, diverse work groups are freer to deviate from traditional approaches and practices.
xiii. Flexibility: A diverse workforce can enhance organizational flexibility because successfully managing diversity requires a corporate culture that tolerates many different styles and approaches. Less restrictive polices and procedures and less standardized operating methods enable organization to become more flexible and thus better able to respond quickly to environmental changes.
xiv. Diversity Management and Affirmative Action Programs: We can define the workforce diversity management as set of activities involved in integrating diverse employees into the work force and using their diversity to the firm’s competitive advantage