Diversity is a huge deal for companies these days as businesses are becoming more sensitive to the importance of having a diverse workforce. However, where does one draw the line between needing diversity and hiring the absolute best staff regardless of race or ethnicity? It’s a tough line to tread, and many businesses have put together some great principles in terms of keeping both of these criteria fulfilled.
There was once a big uproar at the University of Michigan regarding race and “affirmative action”. Many felt that the University was providing unfair advantages to black and other students who were not Caucasian. The University was required to fill a certain quota of minorities, and many felt that this was a ridiculous notion to follow. Many called it “positive discrimination” and called for its removal.
What about diversity in the workforce such as was the case in Michigan? There are many positives to having a diverse workforce in the first place. You have access to many more cultures and beliefs, as well as worldviews. It can help a company better cater to all customers, and the business will not have such a myopic standpoint.
Americanprogress.org states that: “A McKinsey & Company study, for example, found that the increase in women’s overall share of labor in the United States—women went from holding 37 percent of all jobs to 47 percent over the past 40 years—has accounted for about a quarter of current GDP.”
Diversity also looks good to customers as a whole. One company that stands out is Google. They are well known for a very diverse workplace and it seems to shine through in their diverse product and service line as well as the overall success of the company. But when one thinks of Google, one does never harbor any doubt that the company is looking out for all and not leaning towards the side of one race or the other.
Does computing tend to lean towards diversity in the first place, given the lack of “face time” that the employees must give to customers? Roger Feinstein of No More Sad Computer, a tech blog, seems to think so. Since computers tend to be a very universal language and one is never discriminated against in a computer lab given the “nerdy” nature of techies, it tends to lead towards a more accepting nature overall. Feinstein states that this is one of his favorite parts of working in the tech industry. “It’s so nonjudgmental, and I feel that I get to work with the most amazing people because of that.”
There’s definitely work to be done in terms of making all industries match that of the computer industry. Fashion, sales, and the beauty industry are starting to catch on slowly but surely, and you can see the difference in who these companies are featuring in their advertisements. Clothing company United Colors Of Benetton is notorious for their extremely diverse line of models, and other companies are following suit.