Trending: Diversity - Not Just a Trend
There have been a lot of conversations around diversity in the workplace lately (particularly in politics). Countless studies have shown that having a diverse workforce increases innovation, profitability, performance and productivity. But in order to truly harness the potential diversity brings to the workplace there must also be an inclusion strategy.
This is not just in relation to gender parity; it also extends to age and cultural diversity. Findings show that inclusion strategies mean that individuals feel valued and respected and, most importantly, empower contribution. Harnessing unique insights drives creativity and innovation, and ultimately impacts the bottom line.
Current State of Affairs
- According to the ABS, the female workforce participation rate sits at 58.8% compared to the male participation rate of 71.6% (source).
- Evidence suggests that companies where 30% of leaders are female boosts profitability by 15%. Despite these findings, Australia has the lowest percentage of female executives compared to similar countries (source).
- The pay gap is also an ongoing issue, a Hays survey found. The differential is around 17%, and the pay gap has actually increased 1.3% over the past 18 years (source).
- A survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission found that one in 10 managers wouldn’t hire anyone over the age of 50 (source). In general, managers tend to feel that older people are more forgetful, take more time off and have lower performance rates.
- Millennials are also in for a tough ride: managers think millennials don’t value long term roles, are more likely to have bad days at work and are more unreliable.
Culture and Migration
- 49% of immigrants have stated that they faced discrimination when looking for work. This is in spite of the fact that 34% of migrants hold a bachelors degree and 21% hold a masters, doctorate or other post grad qualification (source).
- The ABS estimated that at 11.00pm on Tuesday 6 August 2018, Australia’s population would hit 25 million. The 25 millionth person was likely to be a migrant, young, female and Asian (source).
Benefits Outweigh Negatives, so Why do Businesses Struggle?
While most companies have a diversity commitment in place, it is often hard to implement when it comes to recruitment. Employees should always be chosen based on skills and merit, but if there is no diversity in the talent pool, then recruiters would not necessarily have the best shortlist of candidates. Fostering a people-oriented culture is essential in becoming the employer of choice. In this way, companies will be able to attract and retain the top talent.
When it comes to a diversity strategy, there is often a lack of measurable targets, lack of diverse representation on interview and selection panels, and lack of serious commitment from the executive level. Conversely, once targets have been set and diversity can be measured, diversity can also become tokenistic.
It is simply not enough to just have a diverse workforce. Tapping into the potential of this workforce can only be achieved through an inclusive environment. Diversity is leveraged through inclusion.
Creating an inclusive environment requires a culture that values inclusion and a commitment from management to champion inclusion and present opportunities where this can happen. Inclusiveness encourages individuals to feel more comfortable in their workplace, where ‘outside the box’ ideas can be heard. Studies prove that inclusive environments lead to higher employee engagement, improved performance, greater innovation and talent retention. The importance of innovation for a company cannot be overlooked. The Harvard Business Review found that CEOs who focused on diversity did so because they recognised the correlation between diversity and staying competitive (source). The ability to innovate gives an organisation a competitive advantage.
How Does Xact Measure Up?
Xact is committed to diversity and inclusion. At the very centre of our business is our culture which, in itself, promotes inclusiveness. We promise:
- Staff are valued and equal;
- Open and honest communication is paramount;
- Staff are empowered to work autonomously and innovatively;
- To share our knowledge base to learn from the past and improve for the future;
- A willingness to mentor, help, accept and understand each other; and
- A welcoming, friendly and social environment.
Xact are committed to providing rewarding careers, with our Graduate Program targeted to providing a training and mentoring program to assist with career goals. In addition, Xact is a proud sponsor of the University of Canberra Built Environment Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship. The Scholarship supports students from under-represented backgrounds. We actively provide employment opportunities for graduating students.
Some of Xact's inclusive strategies include:
- Buddy Program
- Social Xactivities
- Monthly Chats
- 50/50 men and women
- A wide range of age group representation
- Variety in cultural and geographical backgrounds
How does your business promote diversity and inclusion?