Workforce diversity is an issue which involves ethical and gender, age and professional differences between employees. To maintain harmony, workers should be informed at the start what management’s policy is on diversity and discrimination and perhaps be given some indication of the racial, ethnic, gender, and disability mix of its workforce. Workforce diversity is defied as “policies and practices that seek to include people within a workforce who are considered to be, in some way, different from those in the prevailing constituency” (Mujtaba 2006, p. 4).
If individuals have strong prejudices, one way or another, they would thus have the opportunity to select themselves out if what they hear is not to their liking. Nevertheless, because all types of situations cannot be anticipated and the ramifications are very complex, management must have an administrative mechanism to deal with complaints and grievances.
Dealing with diversity is a prime area for training in the 21st century for both management and the workforce. Both management and labor have much to learn. Growth opportunities are the rewards employees earn for good work. There are three main areas of growth for all workers: compensation, skill, and status. Although frequently occurring together, they are not necessarily bound up with each other and in fact are separate areas of motivation for individuals.
The result is a more diverse workforce (for some organizations diversity is needed to meet affirmative action goals) and a larger pool of qualified and interested applicants from which hiring can take place. Although noting that the glass ceiling is especially imposed upon women, it does not limit the term solely to women and expressly defines it as a limitation on professional advancement for reasons that are either not readily perceived or not openly acknowledged. Adoption of this definition of the glass ceiling allows, and in fact encourages, the search for limitations to professional advancement – wherever they may be (Mujtaba, 2006). The main causes of workforce diversity are globalization processes and changing composition of employees.
in future, workforce diversity will also involve gender and ethical differences. The idea that women can be disadvantaged in terms of being awarded the ‘plum’ jobs leads us to the next area identified as a factor of the glass ceiling, namely that of perceptions of personal achievement or career attainment. The literature points to four main areas of investigation, namely: job discrimination; perceptions of personal achievement; the role of in-house training and development; and home-based issues such as care-giving.
The first two areas could be squared with notions of objective and subjective aspects of career development in which job discrimination explains existing and structural differences between the career paths of men and women (and, if we were to widen the debate further, around class, race and so on), whilst the perception of personal career development points to individually driven aspects of career development such as aspirations and belief that one has, or has not, been discriminated against. Women may miss out on key assignments and the opportunity to demonstrate their competency because they are assigned tasks with less responsibility than men.
In sum, workforce diversity is complex problem dealing with age, gender, ethnic and professional differences between employees. The task of a manager is to level and reduce these differences in order to create positive climate and morale in organizations.
Mujtaba, B. (2006). Workforce Diversity Management: Challenges, Competencies and Strategies. Llumina Press.