The way we think and act, as the adults we are today, is a reflexion of our early education, meaning the values, ethics and beliefs we follow, as a result of all the experiences and people who’ve influenced our lives in some way. Diversity, among others, should be promoted as a core value, starting in childhood, making one understand that being different is not a justified reason to push someone away, but rather keep him close and be open and willing to learn.
Even though humanity has made progress towards this direction, accepting diversity is still a battle to fight, both in our personal and professional lives. Ranging from gender identity and various ehnicities/races to religion, sexual orientation or disabilities, the Earth is a multicultural environment, which can only function through acceptance, tolerance and harmony among its peoples. And today, in the 21stcentury, young people are still facing many challenges when it comes to the labour market.
Skills or personal choices? Which balances more?
The majority of women are still underpaid and underrepresented compared to men workers. Employers and even coworkers put a tag on you and judge according to your race or sexual orientation, not providing equal access to opportunities and social integration. In this debate, many employers lack focus on what actually matters: one’s experience and capacity to perform at his job, rather than his particular charactheristics or personal choices. The truth is that companies who’ve embraced diversity as part of their mission and vision, have a stronger sense of inclusion and integration, which leads to the creation of a sustainable company culture. Not only is it vital for the company’s success, but it also contributes to a better mental health among its employees, who feel accepted and are guaranteed the right to freedom of expression.
In addition, the benefits are unlimited. Bringing new perspectives to the table, more innovation at the workplace, the ability to solve problems faster, increased creativity & profits, strengthening core values, better decision making and internal communication, and overall, a company reputation that stands out.
Speaking of best practices in this field, Airbnb, the american booking platform for rentals, is providing us with an example of company culture that has built its grounds on inclusivity, starting with the „Airfinity” program, launched in 2015. 3 years ago, there was a total of 12 employee resource groups, for those coming from similar backgrounds, such as African-American or LGBTQ (Medium). Moreover, the Airbnb has a Global Head of Diversity and Belonging, helping them reach the 2025 goals which include 20% of the US employees to come from the category of underrepresented minorities, growing diversity, and adding interview questions to evaluate the candidate’s ability to accept diversity (AirBnb).
In the US, for example, The Human Rights Campaign Foundation had published a report, showing how american companies treat their employees, based on sexual orientationand gender identity preferences. In 2022, approximately 842 businesses got a 100% score on the Coraporate Equality Index, being seen as the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.” Apple, Nike and American Airlines have a 20 years history of reaching this percent, ever since the CEI has been launched in 2002.
Compared to 208, 10 years ago, now there are 662 companies who’ve established guidelines to facilitate the transgender inclusion of managers and employees. The results are based on a series of questions, which cover 3 main criteria: workforce protection, inclusive benefits, supporting an Inclusive Culture & Corporate Social Responsibility (Human Rights Campaign Foundation).
At European level, however, The European Institute for Gender Equality has an interactive Gender Equality Index, which provides results from 2013 to 2022, for the EU countries and their scores from 0 – 100, according to the level of equality between men and women (European Institute for Gender Equality).
To conclude, diversity on the labour market brings more benefits than most of us are aware of. Making people feel accepted, encouraged and heard at the workplace should be a priority in each company’s mission, to make the world a better and more inclusive environment, through innovative ideas, valuable cultural lessons and fresh perspectives. Consider it a blessing, not a burder or reason to discriminate against others.
AirBnb. Working to Make Airbnb More Diverse and Inclusive. 2020. https://news.airbnb.com/working-to-make-airbnb-more-diverse-and-inclusive/
European Institute for Gender Equality. Gender Equality Index. n.d. https://eige.europa.eu/gender-equality-index/2022/EU
Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Corporate Equality Index 2022. 2022. https://reports.hrc.org/corporate-equality-index-2022
Medium. How Airbnb Fosters Belonging in the Workplace. 2019. https://medium.com/@info_37650/how-airbnb-fosters-belonging-in-the-workplace-b2b8edb7bceb