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Importance of Diversity in the Workplace

Credit: Anna Shvets

With times changing for the better, more companies are looking at who makes up their employees and are slowly changing their perception of what makes a great workplace. People are no longer tolerating discrimination against race, religion, disability or sexual orientation. Diversity and inclusion are more than just meeting a quota or ticking a box, it’s about creating a better workplace for all employees and while producing higher quality work due to different ways of thinking. 

Australia is one of the most culturally diverse places in the world! Surprisingly, data from 2015 states that one in four Australians were born overseas, while one in five Australians speak another language besides English in at home. Australia also has a large disabled community, with one in five Australian’s having a disability of some sort, whether that be a physical condition, hearing loss, blind or mental health issues that affect their work life. Fun fact, the disability minority is the only minority that you can join at any point in your life!

While statistics on exact discrimination rates in the Australian workforce are hard to come by, an interesting study conducted by Booth, Leigh and Varganova in 2012 looked at race discrimination when applying for jobs. When compared with Anglo Saxon names on applications, people with Indigenous names needed 35% extra applications to get an identical call-back percentage. Those with Chinese names and Middle Eastern names required 65% and 64% extra applications respectfully, facing even higher levels of discrimination.

Statistics for people with disabilities are much more straightforward. People with disabilities face a higher unemployment rate, compared to those without a disability (10.3% vs 4.6%), while they also have lower levels of employment (47.8% vs 80.3%). 18.9% of people with disabilities aged 15-24 years old have suffered from discrimination, with the discrimination in half of these cases coming from an employer.

Credit: Fauxels

By hiring a diverse workforce, you’re not just helping lower these bleak statistics, but there are also benefits for your employees and business. In a report done by the Diversity Council Australia, they found that three in four Australians wanted their company to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. The positives were just outstanding!

When working in an inclusive team, employees were:

  • 10 times more likely to work effectively
  • 9 times more likely to innovate
  • 5 times more likely to provide excellent customer service 
  • 3 times more likely to put in extra effort into their work. 

However, the benefits don’t stop there! Employees gained from working in an inclusive team too. They were:

  • 19 times more likely to be very satisfied with their job
  • 4 times more likely to stay with the company 
  • 2 times more likely to engage in career development opportunities
  • Felt they were more respected, more connected, could contribute more and more recognised

So, next time you’re looking at hiring a new member of staff, look at increasing the diversity in your workforce. You’ll be astonished at how important it is to your employees but also the benefits it will bring!

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