Marg2Why is diversity a business issue?

How can employers capitalise on diversity?

What are the business benefits?

Nothing stays the same in the people business. Meeting diverse customer needs through innovative product development and great customer service all depend on making the most of our diverse workforce.

New Zealand's workforce is growing older and more culturally diverse, with an increasing proportion of young workers of Māori and Pacific Island heritage. Families are continuing to shrink and disperse, with implications for employers around flexibility. Migration is an increasingly important component of labour force growth with the main sources predicted to swing away from the UK, Australia and the Pacific to regions where English is not a first language. These migrants will often be more highly qualified than New Zealanders.

People spend the larger part of their lives in the workforce. To bring out the best in diverse individuals and teams we need to cultivate a workplace culture that makes the most of everyone's talents; an approach that values the transmission of valuable knowledge and experience from one generation to another, from one culture to another, and from one team to another. A restrictive, one-dimensional view of what people can contribute to our workplaces is not going to bring out the best in individuals or teams in the years to come.

Organisations that can attract the right mix of skilled employees and engage them so they can contribute their energy and creativity at work will be best placed to compete in the rapidly changing business environment. In New Zealand and globally, effectively managing a diverse workforce has become critical to business success.

The first five links below take you to information on changing population and workplace demographics, demonstrating the reality of workplace diversity.

Labour force growth is slowing (pdf) >>
Global labour market and competition for skills (pdf) >>
New Zealand's changing age profile (pdf) >>
Family and gender roles will continue to evolve (pdf) >>
Young people and work (pdf) >>
Unconscious bias: An online tool from Project Implicit to explore unconscious bias. Find out if you might be limiting your ability to take advantage of a diverse workforce. Beware that some of the tests are designed for a North American audience.
Fostering innovation through a diverse workforce >> Forbes research surveyed 321 executives from large global companies about their views on diversity. The report concludes: "A diverse and inclusive workforce is necessary to drive innovation, foster creativity, and guide business strategies."
Diversity of thought (pdf) >> This article from Deloitte explores the evidence connecting diversity of thought to innovation and risk mitigation; examines the conditions necessary to create and leverage diversity of thought, and suggests that diversity of thought provides a new approach to addressing demographic diversity.
Dimensions of diversity (pdf) >> A diagram showing some of the visible and not so visible dimensions of diversity.