This paper is aimed at providing a framework for discussion of diversity and how it pairs with demographic characteristics. It is divided into four parts. Part I represents diversity in the workforce, which reflects the rational of organizations and how they handle diversity in the occupations of their workers. Parts II characterize diversity and age, as it responds to the fact that older people have the skill set to keep them working well past retirement age. Part III denotes religion, where as more employers are beginning to recognize the need to allow employees to take time to pray.
Part IV symbolizes the personality traits in diversity and how “different” is not always viewed as wrong but can be an incentive to other employees.
Diversity relates to gender, age, language, ethnicity, cultural background, disability, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. Diversity also refers to the countless ways we are different in other respects such as educational level, job function, socio-economic background, personality profile, geographic location, marital status and whether or not one has family or other career responsibilities.
Diversity in the Workplace
Managing workplace diversity well requires the creation of an wide-ranging environment that values and utilizes the contribution of people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspective. All organizations policies, practices and processes that impact on the lives of employees need to recognize the potential benefits that can be derived from having access to range of perspectives and to take account of these differences in managing the workplace. Work systems, organizational structures, performance appraisal measurements, recruitment and selection practices and career development opportunities all have impact on the organizational behavior upon the management of diversity.
Managing diversity builds on the EEO foundation but puts a new emphasis on the importance of valuing workplace difference as good management practice. This approach means that organizations must develop people management strategies to value and accommodate differences in the background perspective and family responsibilities of their employees. It requires them to acknowledge the positive contribution that diversity can make to improving productivity and generating new ideas and ways of doing things.
Merit is also a keep principle in the succession of an equitable and diverse workforce. The merit principle means that appointment and promotion decisions must be made without patronage, favoritism or unjustified discrimination. There is a statutory vacancy advertising arrangements which ensure that all eligible candidates have a reasonable opportunity to apply.
Also selection decisions must be made on the basis of a comparative assessment of relative suitability or efficiency.
Diversity and Age
In order to maintain a competitive edge the legal profession and the clients for whom they represent, need to employ an age diverse workforce that reflects the demands of our changing community and its potential markets. They are considerable bottom-line benefits in utilizing qualified older workers and according to the United States study conducted for the National Council on the aging, most reported that they believed older workers were reliable, thorough, conscientious and dependable. Myths and stereotypes must be directly countered through education.
By making a healthy business case for age diversity, many employers have driven significant change within their organization. The business case is based on a simple premise; people are living longer than ever before and are having fewer children.
As a result the population is aging. From an employment perspective, the dramatic drop in numbers of young people coming into the labor markets is beginning to have a huge impact on the pool from which employers are able to recruit new employees. The business case for age diversity is common sense, the United States workforce is growing steadily older, which is causing the labor pool to contract. Employers seeking skilled staff are experiencing chronic recruitment difficulties.
As the workforce, ages and contracts, skilled workers will increasingly come at a premium. Organizations that fail to respond to the threat will put their future growth and profitability at risk while missing out on the benefit of greater age diversity.
Ageism is widespread and affects all age groups. Some define an older worker as “a woman over 35” and “a man over 42”. At another end of the scale, a 27 year old secretary with 9 years experience may be .