“ It’s not an employers business to care about about diversity…. and a wise employer will hire the best and most experienced people they can find.”
I agree with you, but most employers these days have diversity goals, so this is no longer true in the business world. My company has the following goals:
- our goal is to achieve diversity of thought so we can innovate, improve and grow the business
- gender diversity challenges how we attract and retain different people across the Business. As a result, we are getting so much more than gender balance.
- inclusion is about getting the most from diversity through having a workplace where people feel they belong and their uniqueness is valued
- there is opportunity to improve both diversity and inclusion across our business — and we can all play a role.
I have to confess I’m part of the Diversity Group at work, but my take on it is why can’t “the best and most experienced people” turn out to be diverse?
I say to other managers “If you only hire white, middle class males, you are probably only hiring people just like you, and are missing out on the diversity of personality types needed to make a better team.” If we are hiring the target is now to have two people shortlisted who are female, non-white, or immigrants. You don’t have to hire the Somalian woman, but you are much more likely to do so if she is short-listed for an interview, and she might turn out to be the best person for the job.
I stress that this is not a Quota system, it is about equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome, but the diversity program is changing the Company. Half of our machine operator hires in the last year were women, whereas the unconscious bias in the past was that these were men’s jobs. When we put “We welcome female applicants” into the job advertisements, they started applying, and getting the jobs. Some of the arrangements made to assist mothers of children, such as job-sharing, flexible hours, etc, turned out to be of benefit to male employees, too. We have always been ethnically diverse, with over 100 nationalities working in our plants (25% of Australians were born overseas), but women have traditionally been office workers and sales reps, not Steelworkers. I like the change, and welcome the diversity program, as I think excluding half the race from consideration for employment is a dumb thing to do: it means excluding half of “the best and most experienced people”.