Equality at every level
Despite recent progress, ethnic minorities are still underrepresented in US boardrooms. Black people hold less than 4% of senior leadership positions, and just four of the Fortune 500 companies have a black CEO. Washington Post columnist Christine Emba believes unconscious bias plays a huge part in creating these socio-economic disparities. "There's a level of societal advantage that comes with being seen as the 'norm' in America,” she asserts.
Thankfully, policymakers are drawing up plans to create more opportunities for underrepresented groups, including additional diversity training and mentoring programs. Adjustments to how companies screen potential candidates could also make a huge difference. For example, one study found that applicants with white-sounding names were 50% more likely to receive interview requests than Black-sounding names. One solution is 'anonymous' resumes. Anonymous resumes remove personal details during the first stage of the recruitment process, forcing recruiters to assess candidates purely on their experience and qualifications.
The business case for diversity
Experts from the Boston Consulting Group found diversity of opinion drives innovation, helping companies develop creative solutions and design inclusive products and services. A diverse workforce also creates a more balanced work environment and culture. What’s more, a survey by Pew Research Centre listed several areas where women employees outperform men. Women seem to do better at tasks that require a range of soft skills, like negotiation and mentoring junior employees.
Female employees can also offer different perspectives on customer needs, product improvements, and company wellbeing, creating a business that is more profitable and a better place to work. In fact, women in the workplace could become one of the biggest drivers of future economic growth. A number of economists believe closing the global gender gap in the workforce could add an extra $28 trillion to the global economy by 2025!
What’s already working?
In 2018, Harvard University Professor David Pedulla published a report called ‘What Works? Evidence-Based Ideas to Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace’. It focused on the solutions to the diversity challenge and outlined key insights that can help companies reach their inclusion targets. Pedulla advised companies to set clear goals, collect as much data as possible, and analyze changes compared to other organizations. Businesses should also develop alternative complaint systems and more accessible grievance mechanisms.
Most importantly, a business should not see complaints as threats but valuable insights that can drive positive change. And companies need to avoid what behavioural psychologists have called the small-number problem. The small-number problem is often referred to as 'tokenism’. It's when members of a severely underrepresented group are promoted or used as the 'face' of a diversity initiative to overcompensate for the lack of actual diversity in the workplace. Instead, companies should focus on making institutional changes.
Going beyond race and gender
Diversity isn't just about race or gender. To create a genuinely diverse workforce, businesses must think about their employee's sexuality, nationality, religious beliefs, differing physical abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds. For example, it's great news if a law firm reports an increase in senior partners from ethnically underrepresented groups. However, what if they all went to private schools or ivy-league universities? And how do certain workplace cultures marginalise people who don't drink alcohol for religious reasons?
Also, what about neurodiversity? Neurodiversity describes people with conditions such as ADHD and Autism. Given the right environment, these so-called 'learning disabilities' can become something akin to superpowers. Autistic people are more likely to have exceptional knowledge or abilities in narrow domains and often display hyperfocus for prolonged periods. But they can often struggle to concentrate in traditional office environments "Diversity is a term that's constantly evolving," says Liz Bingham, Head of People for Ernst & Young. "Diversity encompasses all aspects of the human experience. We need to remove any biases that may be obscuring an individual's route to the top."
Deusto Business School
Deusto Business School is on a mission to create a fairer, inclusive, and more prosperous world by promoting inclusive and sustainable business practices in a global context. Times Higher Education ranked Deusto Business School in the top 20 best universities in the world for promoting fair and inclusive societies. Each school is assessed by its social impact and contribution to United Nations' sustainable development goals and Agenda 2030 targets, which include responsible production and consumption, reduced inequality, and education for all.
Deusto Business School offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses specifically designed to equip students with the tools to succeed in today's globalised business world.
Its Master in Management is ideal for professionals looking to take their career to the next level. Through a combination of classroom learning and full-time placements, students gain the knowledge and skills to work in managerial positions in large companies with an international outlook. The majority of graduates find a professional position within four months of completing the course and alumni are now working as logistic managers, HR specialists, and marketing directors in established and growing sectors, including banking, technology, business consultancy, and professionals services.
Marie Müller is just one of Deusto's many success stories. She used her Master's in Management to land a dream role at one of the biggest companies in the world.
"I wanted to expand my knowledge in order to give a boost to my professional career,” says Marie. "The Master at Deusto was a unique experience for me. I learned a lot in a very short time, like key concepts for problem-solving and critical thinking. Thanks to what I learned, I was able to make the professional leap I wanted: working at Google! What I really liked about Deusto was the level of innovation and the teachers; most of them are business professionals or entrepreneurs and work with real cases in the classroom."
Located across three campuses in Madrid, Bilbao, and San Sebastian, Deusto Business School provides students with a rich cultural experience that goes way beyond the classroom. Students in Bilbao can visit the Guggenheim Museum, the Iberdrola Tower, and the Euskalduna Palace of Congress, while Madrid is the financial capital of Spain and home to hundreds of major national and multinational companies, as well as, naturally, amazing sights, culture, and cuisine. And with its stunning landscapes and variety of traditional and modern architecture, it's no surprise that San Sebastian was named European Capital of Culture 2016.
The Basque Country is also the perfect location for ambitious business graduates and entrepreneurs. The region has one of the highest GDPs per capita in Europe and is gaining a global reputation as a hub for innovation and creativity, especially in the automotive and energy sectors.
The Basque Country is building a better and brighter future. Be a part of it by studying at Deusto Business School.
Article written in association with Deusto Business School.