Understanding the key diversity issues affecting the workplace today, and more specifically the technology workplace, is vital for any company committed to putting in place long term strategies for increasing diversity in their workforce.
We have created a list of 5 key diversity issues that tech employers need strategies in place for if they want to value diversity in their workplace:
The generation gap is the disparity between opinions, beliefs and attitudes between the older and younger generations. In essence the gap boils down to the age gap between generations. Some examples of generations that work side by side in today’s workplace are Generation X (early 1960s – 1980), and Millennial’s (those born between the 80s – early 2000s). Diversity issues in the workplace arise because there are behaviours and outlooks common to each generational group that may clash when it comes to work. For example, a recent infographic by King University Online revealed that whilst Generation X prefer task based work, view promotions as rewards and see technology as a learned skill, millennials tend to see managers as equals, view technology as integral and thrive in a team setting. Such opposing views working side by side need special attention by employers who want to get the best out of all their employees.
Diversity issues can arise in the workplace when staff and leadership are unsure how to approach the cultural and ethnic differences in beliefs and communication styles between employees. It is a reality, albeit a disappointing one, that prejudice against differing cultural backgrounds still exists in many workplaces today. To deal with any such issues it is imperative that companies commit to putting in place training in cultural sensitivity, diversity awareness programmes and clear regulations to address any instances where staff experience prejudices based on their backgrounds. No one should feel like their workplace doesn’t respect their individual views and beliefs.
Just 17% of the tech workforce are women. The future of the representation of women in tech relies largely on inspiring generations of young girls and women to choose technology. It is important to spark a passion for tech in upcoming generations of young women, and to empower them to feel as comfortable as men in the sector. Technology doesn’t have a gender, and tech consumers are both men and women alike. Achieving gender diversity in the workplace is a key issue in tech because it ties in with achieving equality in society as a whole.
If a workplace doesn’t have the necessary access requirements for workers who need a wheelchair this is a diversity issue they need to tackle because it immediately prevents them being able to hire people who need this disabled access in their company, and they will potentially then miss out on an entire tech talent pool. As is the case with companies who don’t have any procedures in place for mentally disabled workers. For example, imagine a worker suffers with sometimes paralysing anxiety, and in order to perform at work they need access to a quiet room or even the option to work from home at times. This person is really talented but if the company they work for fails to support them, eventually they could end up leaving in favour of a company who does. Having support and flexibility strategies in place for disabled employees of any description should make disabled people more likely to stay loyal to the company and thrive in their jobs.
The fifth main diversity issue that a workplace should have a strategy in place for is communication. For example if a company only hires English speaking staff but has plans to do business on a global or international scale, the language barrier caused by not hiring from a diverse demographic could hinder these plans. Companies should also consider how they communicate universal information to their staff. Older and younger generations at work may be receptive to different types of communication so companies should ensure important messages are communicated out in the best way for different people. For example, keeping in mind the different working styles of millennials and Gen X could help a company talk to their employees more effectively. There is a trend in millennials that they value consistent feedback, delivering on this is important to retain and attract diverse talent from the graduate pool especially.
If you want to read examples of effective diversity and inclusion strategies, you can read our guide here.