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Workplace Diversity Issues

by Marc Luber

Workplace diversity

Workplace diversity issues play a growing role in the recruiting and retainment of employees at companies around America.

As a recruiter, I dealt with workplace diversity issues every single day. When I worked with candidates who were women or minority professionals (African American, Hispanic, gay), they would wisely ask me a lot of questions about any employment opportunities I would present to them. They would want to know if there were people like them in any kind of leadership roles at whatever firms or companies we were discussing. Would they be able to find mentors at those companies? Would those companies promote people like them? If there were no minority professionals in any kind of management role at those companies, my candidates would become incredibly skeptical.


Diversity Management in the Workplace

Diversity management in the workplace was an issue I dealt with on the client side of my business. I had some law firm and corporate clients who were all too aware of the fact that their management-level positions were predominately filled by white males. These clients wanted to make a change – they were trying to implement a workplace diversity strategy. They would ask me to try to steer my qualified minority professional candidates to them for employment opportunities. But this was often a Catch-22 situation. Why would a diverse candidate want to be recruited by an organization that had so far not recruited or promoted anyone like them? Sometimes the candidate would consider these opportunities but would often fear that they would be short-term as a result of the organization remaining stuck in its old ways, thereby making retainment of that candidate an issue.

It became very clear that if organizations want to be achieving diversity in the workplace, they really must commit to a workplace diversity strategy. There are plenty of organizations that understand the business value of implementing diversity-management initiatives and having their workforce represent the society in which they live. According to DiversityInc, here are the Top 50 Companies with commitments to diversity. In the meantime, American companies still have a long way to go when it comes to diversity. Even brilliant scholar Stephen Colbert has weighed in on this issue!

There are some great resources out there – check out HireDiversity for minority professional networking resources – and take a look at these diversity organizations – remember there is power in numbers! Don’t miss our interview with an African American woman with a great OB/GYN career who shares her personal experience with workplace diversity issues and African American employment. We also feature an interview with a Cuban American woman who speaks about being a journalist and her personal experience with Hispanic recruitment.

Do you have experience with workplace diversity issues? Please share it in the COMMENTS section below!

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Image courtesy of Lumaxart