The world has changed significantly when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Companies in the United States and beyond are actively making efforts to adopt and promote the new trends in diversity year after year. As someone who is just getting your career started or trying to change careers, you need to learn the current trends in diversity.
This article is your complete guide to understanding the top trends in diversity, covering everything you need to know. You will get a glimpse of some of the future trends in diversity and the best skills to help you assimilate into a workplace that prioritizes equity for all employees.
What Is Diversity?
Diversity is simply the practice of fostering inclusion within a social group regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socioeconomic background. Simply put, diversity is ensuring that everyone is given a fair opportunity to participate within a group no matter who they are or where they come from. The ultimate goal of diversity is to end systemic inequalities.
Diversity and representation has been an important part of the workplace since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It became part of the employment policy so that companies will offer employment opportunities on merit no matter the race, sexual orientation, or background of a candidate. This aimed to promote equity and higher rates of employment among underrepresented groups.
What Is the Current State in Diversity?
Compared to even a few decades ago, there has been significant improvement in inclusion and diversity efforts in the United States labor market. People of color make up approximately one-third of the entire labor force. This includes Hispanic, Asian, and African American citizens.
When it comes to gender diversity, men are still dominating executive positions in the United States. Female representation is still lacking in certain fields. Women’s participation in the workforce has improved over the years and so has the gender pay gap. Is important to note that Black women, Hispanic women, white women, and Asian women experience this pay gap to different degrees.
Impact of Remote Work on Diversity
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, private and public organizations in the United States have embraced remote work. This new approach to remote work has positively impacted diversity. It has paved the way for different people to access jobs that originally would have been difficult for them to get, though these inclusive practices might not continue after the pandemic.
Thanks to remote work, people who had problems commuting due to economic housing limitations have been able to get great work-from-home jobs. Employees living with physical or mental disabilities, and thousands of primary caregivers, have been able to maintain a better work-life balance due to 100 percent remote work.
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Top Challenges in Diversity
With diversity and inclusion becoming more frequently implemented by businesses, there are challenges that companies and human resources should be aware of. Below is a list of some of the most common challenges to increasing equity in the workplace.
- Cultural misunderstandings. When people of different cultural backgrounds work together, it is easy for misunderstandings to occur, especially in the first few months of working together. To remedy this challenge, organizations need to hold seminars and provide diversity training opportunities to help their staff become more sensitive to all cultures.
- Challenges with communication. The language barrier in communication is another serious challenge in diversity when you have an international team. Beyond speaking different languages, the style of verbal and non-verbal communication may vary significantly when people from diverse backgrounds are working together.
- Inclusion problems. It is difficult to promote true inclusion in a diverse workplace because different people have different needs. Sometimes, fulfilling the needs of one group might be offensive to another. All staff members, including management, must work together to ensure ongoing inclusion.
- Discrimination. Employing people of color in a predominantly white organization might lead to passive or active discrimination in the workplace. Also, when an organization with conservative people employs a person of the LGBTQ+ community, or someone with diverse gender expressions, discrimination might occur.
- Continual effort. Equity efforts require large systemic changes. Preventing discrimination and ensuring all employees, particularly those from underrepresented groups, have a safe work environment takes dedication. It is not simply a matter of hiring more diverse applicants.
What Are Some Future Trends in Diversity?
After exploring the meaning of diversity and the challenges of diversity practices in organizations, it is time to learn the top diversity trends in today’s workforce. The section below provides a detailed explanation of the future trends in diversity and inclusive practices we think will dominate industries.
Accepting Gender Diversity
One of the most common trends in the modern workforce is redefining traditional gender titles and adopting a gender-expansive culture. This means that organizations recognize that gender is a social construct. An example of this is calling people by their proper pronouns and making gender-neutral bathrooms.
Why Is This Trend Important?
Gender non-conforming individuals face a lot of challenges with intolerant people in every part of their lives, and shouldn’t have to face it at work. By making sensitive changes in an organization, a company proves that it recognizes and appreciates people of diverse genders. This, in turn, boosts productivity and mental health.
Diversification of Executive Roles
The corporate world is primarily dominated by white men. Most of the highest paying executive job positions are filled by these white American men. In recent times, however, companies are making efforts to give women and people of color opportunities to thrive in these executive positions.
Why Is This Trend Important?
Giving every employee within an organization the same type of promotional opportunities promotes healthy competition. Staff members will consistently improve their performance and professional qualifications if they know that they all have equal chances at leadership roles. Diverse leadership and board representation is also a good way of preventing discrimination.
Promoting True Inclusion Instead of Tokenism
Over the years, large corporations have been called out for tokenism. This means that they employ two or three diverse people just to appear as though they are following the inclusion trend, but there is no systemic change or genuine diversity practices.
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Why Is This Trend Important?
Tokenism is dishonest, disrespectful, and not always based on merit when looked at critically. The diverse staff members may feel like figureheads or poster people for nothing but publicity. When companies embrace true gender and ethnic representation as opposed to tokenism, everyone’s contribution will matter.
The Evolution of Remote Work
Remote work now serves as the perfect vehicle for large-scale diversity and inclusion. Companies that moved to 100 percent remote work in the wake of the pandemic have been able to employ talent from all over the world and improve the employee experience.
Why Is This Trend Important?
Being able to employ people remotely from different countries doesn’t just make a company more diverse. It also allows the company to get the best selection of true talent. As long as there is an Internet connection in the person’s location, they can be part of the team.
Embracing a Multigenerational Workforce
A multigenerational workforce is a team that is made up of staff members from different age groups across generations. The generational makeup of a team has an effect on how it understands diversity. The current adult generation is made up of pre-boomers, baby boomers, generation x, and generation y, also known as millennials.
Why Is This Trend Important?
An age-diverse team is often more productive and innovative than a generational team. More experienced workers can share their knowledge and experience with the younger generations. On the other hand, the younger generations can help the older ones adapt to the digitalization of work.
Essential Diversity Skills for Today’s Professionals
As a professional who wants to assimilate into today’s diverse workplace, you need to work on yourself and develop useful soft skills appropriate for diversity in the workplace. Companies frown upon intolerant employees so it is important to prepare. Some great skills that will help you join the diversity and inclusion trends are listed below.
- Emotional awareness. You need to be more thoughtful about how your words and actions affect the mental health and well-being of others. Work on developing empathy so you can put yourself in the shoes of others and subsequently treat them how you would want to be treated. You can also master emotional intelligence on a platform like Markers Academy.
- Flexibility. When people from different backgrounds and cultures have to work together, everyone within the group needs to be flexible. Understand that diverse teams might require some flexibility so you need to be willing to change or adjust when necessary.
- Prioritize your mental health. While you do not want to offend those who are different from you in the workplace, don’t forget about your own mental health. Being the only diverse person at your job can be challenging on many levels.
- Identify and eliminate unconscious bias. A person’s upbringing may bring with it some unconscious biases towards particular groups of people. It is called unconscious bias because you are not fully aware of how these feelings make you treat other people. Evaluate yourself, find any unconscious bias, and actively work on getting rid of it.
- Respect everyone. This is an important skill because it is the ultimate form of acceptance. When you have respect for every member of today’s diverse society, respecting them in the workplace isn’t going to be as hard. Respect their views, sexual orientation, culture, gender identity, and everything else about them that makes them diverse.
Current Trends in Diversity: Take the Next Step in Your Career
The world is changing and all those who want to remain relevant in tomorrow’s workplace must join the diversity trends. Diversity makes it easier for you to pursue your dreams without all the restrictions that would have existed in the past. Many companies where you can land the best tech careers take major steps to implement diversity and inclusion, so you should too.
Whether you want to work for a company remotely, in person, or you want to start a business, you need to be willing to implement diversity. Take the next step in your career by learning every skill required to work in or build a diverse workplace. If you have a high-level position in your company, make sure you provide the same opportunities and benefits to employees without any bias.
Trends in Diversity FAQ
The four types of diversity are worldview diversity, internal diversity, organizational diversity, and external diversity. People in all career stages need to get a clear understanding of all forms of diversity if they want to make the best of it in the workplace.
Some of the most common diversity practices are empathetic leadership, promoting a sense of belonging, and ongoing inclusion. Equity initiatives that build a culture of acceptance and unity despite differences are considered a best practice for diversity.
The five primary areas or categories of diversity are racial diversity, cultural diversity, diversity in interests, gender diversity, and physical diversity. These areas all come to play when it comes to diversity in the workplace.
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Some of the most common topics in diversity are racism, LGBTQ+, generational diversity, stereotypes, intentional inclusion, microaggressions, bystander intervention, and unconscious bias.
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