As a global business becoming more globalized and leading competitors, it is clear that most companies have to develop their ability of diversity to be successful in the emerging global marketplace. Diversity is necessary to every organization no matter whether they are large or small. Diversity is important for all organization, because a variety of ideas that are constructively pooled and managed wisely can be vital to the success of that organization.
The purpose of this essay is to explore the human differences known as diversity in relation to today’s workforce. This essay first focuses on the definition of workforce diversity, background and the development of the concept of workforce diversity. This essay also attempts to examine how and why workforce diversity has became an important issue to management in a global business and also shows examples of workforce diversity which has been used to improve business performance.
Definitions, background and concept of workforce diversity Differences have always existed, as they are part of human condition. Workforce diversity is defined that the differences between people, the qualities, features, skills, and talents that make us humans unique and distinguish us from one another. Diversity has so many other dimensions between individuals such as age, race, gender, culture, language and religion (Margaret ; Peter 2001).
Today’s workforce comprises people who have different background, attitudes, needs and value. For example, the composition of workforce in Australia, they have people more than 130 different language background and more than 220 nationalities in one country. Over 42 per cent of Australia population were born in overseas or have at least one parent who was born in overseas. 17 per cent of people do not speak English at home. Even in business sector, about 21 per cent of small businesses are operated by people who do not speak English as a mother language. Moreover, it is expected that Asian will comprise 20 per cent to 25 per cent of the Australian population by the year 2030 (Brian & Amrik 1999).
In detail, there are two levels of diversity. According to Paul & Ricky (2000), First level dimensions which are very important on our lives. They are age, sex, race, gender, sexual orientation ethnicity and mental and physical abilities and characteristics. These characteristics are either impossible or difficult for individuals to change. Second level dimensions which individuals have a degree of control through choices about their acquisition and modification. The concept of workforce diversity includes the principle of equal employment opportunity (EEO).
Many companies have recognized these factors and are beginning to pay attention to the need for diversity as a number one priority. Diversity in the workforce has been fast growing over the past years. Individuals with different backgrounds bring different ideas to an organization. Where does workforce diversity fit into the world wide organization Workforce diversity should be integrated with all aspects of human resource management, such as planning, training and development, recruitment, occupational health and safety, appraisal, selection and workplace relations (Williams 2001). For example, Workforce diversity strategies help Example (Gender Diversity)
It is not just a man’s world any more. Gender diversity plays an important role in who runs our company or even our society. The roles of men and women vary greatly in the home and in the workplace. According to Donna (1995), “Women will be an increasing percentage of the workplace at all levels.” However, the roles of women in the business world have developed greatly, our society still has a long way to go before men and women will be considered equal in the workforce. Example (Disability in the workforce) About one in every sixteen persons is a person with a disability in the workplace. Diversity Training in the workplace The changing face of today’s workforce has made diversity training a common and sometimes a required part of employment.
Margaret, P. & Peter, O. (2001). Managing Diversity an Asian and Pacific Focus, John Wiley & Sons Australia. Ltd: Qld Brian, D’Netto. ; Amrik, S. Sohal. (1999). Human resource practices and workforce diversity: an empirical assessment, International Journal of Manpower, Bradford, Vol. 20, Iss. 8; pg. 530 Stringer, Donna M. (1995). The Role of Women in Workplace Diversity Consulting, Journal of Organisational Change Management, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 44. Retrieved: April 6, 2003, from ABI/Inform database. Williams, H. (2001). Guidelines on Workplace Diversity,