The Future of Work Is Diverse: Why Half of Millennials and Gen Z Want Employers to Prioritise Diversity over Ability

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Written by Euan Blair, Co-Founder & CEO at WhiteHat

Would you sacrifice diversity for some good old-fashioned merit-based competition?

A new study by John Zogby Strategies suggests your answer to that question may depend on the year you were born.

(Yes, really.)

The poll surveyed 2,002 US-based respondents and found:

  • Only 15% of Gen Z and 32% of millennials believe ‘merit and competition supersede all, even if that results in a workplace that creates minimal diversity’
  • By comparison, 37% of Generation X and 45% of Baby Boomers say merit is more important than diversity
  • 55% of Gen Z believe ‘major business decisions must first and foremost take into account their impact on the environment’

This is a far cry from the days of stack rankings and organisational nepotism.

And considering that almost 90% of the companies on the Fortune 500 list have disappeared since its creation in 1955, it just makes sense.

If you’re ready to position your talent acquisition strategy on the right side of history, read on. We’re about to tell you exactly why and how to give the next generation of workers what they really want.

The time for diversity and inclusion is now

Avocado-toast jokes aside, we’re sceptical of anything that attempts to summarise an entire generation of people based on one broad trait.

However, there is value in understanding the history and evolution of the world’s working trends—especially, if you want to stay ahead of the game.

This latest report is just one drop in an ever-growing sea of evidence that demonstrates why diversity should be your #1 hiring goal—even before merit.

  • Companies with inclusive talent practices generate up to 30% higher revenue per employee.
  • Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperformtheir competitors and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same.
  • Not only that, 67% of job seekers say they care about your diversity statistics.

Forget likeability. Say goodbye to smokescreen credentials.

Today’s forward-thinking businesses want the kind of talent that will actively push them to be better. And they’re willing to be held accountable.

“I feel strongly that the onus is not on the person to change things. As a business, it’s on Bulb to fix these problems,” says Meera Patel, Talent and Diversity Specialist at the UK’s largest green energy company.

Different types of apprenticeships, different roads to diversity

Rather than trying to “force” diversity from the top down, talent pros like Meera are building it into the fabric of their organisations, from the ground up.

“[Diversity] is especially important with new art markets emerging and different people collecting now…The art market has never been so open and we need the right people to drive that forward,” says Laura Tomsett, Recruitment Advisor at Christie’s.

Like Meera, Laura and her team are building a pipeline of diverse entry-level talent through 18-month apprenticeships across a variety of functions within the business. Whether it’s IT and software engineering or digital marketing and business admin, companies are leveraging apprenticeships to secure a diverse and profitable future.

Of course, diversity is just one part of the equation—inclusion is where brands need to walk the walk.

Here are a few tips that can help close the gap:

  • Survey your employees to find out what inclusion initiatives they’d like to see
  • Run an internal campaign promoting activities like attending LGBTQ+ events or simply having lunch with colleagues you wouldn’t normally meet
  • Optimise your Careers site and job adverts to openly state your commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Make sure you have a diverse and representative hiring panel

The bottom line is this: the nature of employee performance is changing.

It’s maths.

And at the end of the day, every business will choose for itself what kind of organisation it wants to be. But if you’re looking to build and maintain a high-performance culture, diversity and inclusion are the targets to hit.

In the words of Jake Hobson, Group Diversity & Inclusion Manager at Hyperion Group, “All of us are diverse in one way or another and inclusion to me is about how we unlock potential in everyone and help them perform in the best way.

Originally posted here

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