Why are companies growing more focused on increasing diversity in the workforce and promoting a more inclusive employee culture? Consider the potential impact on business that we uncovered while researching for our latest white paper, “Talent, Business and Competition: A New World of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)”:
The shortage of skilled talent is here to stay, and it is causing real pain for talent leaders. In our survey of nearly 7,000 employers and job candidates from around the world, Allegis Group found that only 7.7 percent of employer respondents expressed high satisfaction with their talent acquisition function’s ability to deliver in terms of speed, cost, and quality of results.
A significant portion of hiring managers were either somewhat or strongly concerned about issues related to attracting quality talent (23 percent), filling positions quickly (39 percent), and optimizing costs (27 percent).
These challenges are no surprise as many companies struggle to keep up with the new demands of a rapidly changing workforce. Consider the forces at play. Large numbers of older workers are retiring while new generations embark on their careers. Innovation is leading to a high demand for emerging skills, and organizations must compete for talent against companies both inside and outside their industries. Finally, companies are adjusting to the new reality of a workforce that is more diverse than ever before.
Millennials (those born between 1982 and 2000) have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the United States (83.1 million versus 75.4 million Baby Boomers), and 44 percent of Millennials are part of a racial or ethnic minority group. In the future, the worker population will grow even more diverse as those under five years old, of which 50.2 percent are from diverse backgrounds, enter the workforce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Added to this mix is a growing portion of women, LGBT workers, people with disabilities, military veterans, and other groups in the overall working population. The result: the workforce of the future is already here, and it is growing more diverse every day.
Given the challenges of competition and talent scarcity, long-standing commitments to workforce diversity are now a high priority among many organizations. The intention of “doing the right thing” aligns with the business necessity of attracting diverse talent, improving retention, and maximizing the value and contribution of every employee.
As a result of the changing workforce and the challenges of talent scarcity, companies are rethinking their approaches to D&I. As a practice, D&I is no longer about compliance, quotas, or check-off-the-box activities; instead, it is about taking down the barriers that stand between employers and vital sources of scarce talent. It is about bringing to bear the full power of diverse, personal experiences and perspectives to understand customers, create value, and support innovation. And, D&I is about being prepared for a future where demographic shifts will fundamentally change workforce dynamics.
The business case for improving diversity in the employee population is compelling. Numerous studies indicate that a diverse workforce and inclusive corporate culture improves innovation, business agility, productivity, employee engagement, and talent attraction. And, leading companies across industries have publically committed to improving diversity as part of a business need and as a social responsibility. Unfortunately, many companies find that their ability to attract diverse talent remains blocked by longstanding issues that must be addressed clearly if they want to rise above lip service and achieve real progress. Those key issues include:
Together, the issues of leadership diversity, fair pay, and accountability persist in the world of D&I. These challenges impact the way prospective workers view a potential employer, and the organization that fails to address those issues will not be able to compete effectively for diverse workers or keep them on board.
Considering the business case and evolving expectations associated with D&I, it is no surprise that business and talent leaders face a compelling environment for change. But how can talent leaders re-think D&I? The conversation centers on four key areas:
Ready for more insights about the latest D&I trends and research? Download our D&I white paper to gain an informed perspective on how today’s smartest companies are turning D&I into a talent and business advantage today.