Workplace diversity and inclusion – some startling facts and figures
In this series of articles, we are going to delve into what workplace diversity and inclusion means, how it can be achieved and what the benefits are of having an inclusive workplace. Most people realize that there is a very real problem with most companies hiring practices, resulting in an overrepresentation of certain ethnic groups and genders. However, this is not a new issue, it has been recognized and discussed for decades with very little change. So, before we start looking at potential solutions let’s look at some facts and figures:
1. There are more CEOs named “John” than there are women CEOs:
You read that correctly. If you are a male named “John” you have more chance of becoming a CEO in America than if you are a woman (of any name), according to a NY Times article from 2015. In fact, in 2017, women held a paltry 6.4% of CEO positions in America’s 500 biggest companies.
When a single name outweighs an entire gender, it points to a huge problem in company culture and hiring practices. There is plenty of proof that women are more than capable of holding these and other positions, it is just a case of poor and biased hiring practices.
2. People of color are 16% less likely to get invited to a job interview:
This based on a 2015 study that states that people with names common to whites, got 50% more callbacks than people with names common to people of color. The study’s authors sent out over 5000 applications to 1300 advertised jobs, with a large variety of job and position types. It found a little variation of innate discrimination regardless of the job or position advertised.
Everyone should be employed based on their experience, skill and performance. Sadly, however, it seems that “cultural bias” still plays a big part of the interview and hiring process.
3. The main reason companies say they aren’t making more of an effort to diversify their workforce, is because they are “too busy”.
A recent Forbes article points out that as recently as 2015, in studies, diversity and inclusion were consistently reported as low priority issues. In fact, a SHRM report confirmed that among the Fortune 100 companies a fifth of respondents said their companies had very informal and unstructured efforts towards diversity, with 41% saying they were too busy.
With recent research indicating that there are multiple benefits to diversifying your workforce (stay tuned for our next article), now is the time to get busy to stay in front of the curve.
4. Blind applications result in five times more women being hired.
In the 1970s, symphony orchestras were made up almost exclusively by white males. Some orchestras started to hire using “blind auditions” and some researchers at Harvard and Princeton took notice and studied the results. They found that blind auditions improved women’s chances of getting employed by up to 46%.
Although an old study, it is hardly surprising that women were being unconsciously (and consciously) discriminated against when it came to winning spots in a male-dominated field. It is also not surprising that once the auditioners were forced to make decisions based solely on ability, that women had much greater success.
5. Women managers are a lot more likely to receive negative feedback
In a 2014 study conducted by Fortune, 248 performance reviews were compared to both men and women. Of those studied, women received about 70% negative feedback while men received less than 2%. When reviewing the comments associated with the work reviews, while both men and women were given constructive suggestions, women were often also told to “pipe down”. Some examples of criticisms given to women were: “Watch your tone”, “Step back and let others shine” and “stop being so judgmental”.
Words like “strident”, “aggressive”, “bossy” and “abrasive” appeared often in women’s reviews and virtually not at all in men’s reviews. The above trend applied equally to male and female reviewers, showing that there is an innate gender bias in the language used regardless of the reviewer’s gender.
So, while male behavior might be described as “assertive” a woman would most likely be viewed as “aggressive”. This could be ascribed to a society-wide subconscious desire to place women in less dominant positions. As the primary child rearer, the “behind every great man…” myth..or simply in subordinate roles at work. It may seem hard to shift an entire societal subconsciousness, however, with appropriate training, time and patience we can create an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding, as well as recognizing the advantages to the teamwork of differing communication styles.
6. Recent USCCC report shows that most transgender workers face discrimination at work
A report and letter sent to Donald Trump in November 2017 by the US Commission on Civil Rights, has called upon Congress to enact a law banning discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation/gender identity.
Although Federal data sources do not effectively capture rates of LGBT employment or rates of LGBT employment discrimination, of the transgender workers who faced discrimination at work, about a fourth were forced to use restrooms that did not match their gender identity, were told to dress, act and present as a different gender from their own to keep their job, or had a boss or coworker share private information about their transgender status without their permission.
More than 70 percent of transgender respondents said they had to hide their gender identity, delay their transition, or quit their job due to fear of negative repercussions.
Next time we will focus on some facts around the benefits of having a more diversified workforce.
Lisa Peers, CEO and Head Trainer has been helping people communicate better at work since 1998. The Peers and Players offer diversity and Inclusion programs to companies globally. With offices in the USA, and Australia, they have more than 300 communication experts around the world who are local, culturally aware and able to guide your staff, to achieve more open and clear communication styles. Contact us now to discuss your challenges: firstname.lastname@example.org