Printer Friendly

Diversity programs cause headaches.

Have America's efforts to manage a diverse workplace kept pace with the nation's rapidly changing workforce demographics? According to a survey by the Society of Human Resource Management and Commerce Clearing House, almost 70% of the companies reported increases in the number of women hired in their organizations and about 60% said they employed more African-Americans. About half reported hiring more Hispanics, while 44% added more Asians; 43% indicated employment of older Americans had increased; and 33% had taken on more employees with disabilities. Organizations also noted a 15% increase in employment of gay/ lesbian employees. White males represented a 10.4% increase.

A large number of responses revealed that the career advancement and retention of women is a primary challenge of diversity management in many organizations. One respondent reported that "We have more women managers, but few women officers and one percent on the board of directors. The glass ceiling is a reality." In addition, while the Americans with Disabilities Act has created more awareness and responsiveness on the part of employers, many of the respondents indicated that accommodating workers with disabilities often creates difficulties.

Older employees present challenges to the organizations by their difficulty in adjusting to constant changes in the business environment, according to one correspondent. Others cited cultural differences in employees for whom English is a second language (not mention the language barrier); the recruitment, retention, and motivation of African-American workers; and managing the growing number of gay and lesbian employees.

Respondents also noted that, in attempting to implement diversity programs, organizations have observed a growing alienation of white males within the workplace. This may be attributable to a perception of a narrow definition of diversity that seems to include everyone except white men. Another factor is the growing perception by some white males that diversity efforts are tantamount to preferential treatment for certain groups.

Diversity suffers from a lower priority level ascribed to it than other major issues facing management, including profitability, market share, capital investment, health care, quality management, revising compensation, restructuring, downsizing, and training. Only one concern--globalization --was ranked as less important than diversity.

A little more than one-third of respondents indicated that their organizations currently conduct diversity training, but less than one-third of these said their programs were effective. Given the changing demographics of American society, the need to educate employees and managers on how to recognize, accommodate, and appreciate individual differences should be a high priority for U.S. companies.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Society for the Advancement of Education
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Aug 1, 1993
Previous Article:Counterfeiting costs companies billions.
Next Article:Spanking sends the wrong signal.

Related Articles
How to live with a headache: don't!
How do people get headaches?
How do we get headaches, and how do we get rid of them?
When I don't wear my glasses I get a headache. And when I do wear them, I still get a headache. Why do I get headaches?
Math heads.
Finding relief from headache pain for women.
Why do people get headaches?
Biodiversity may lessen Lyme disease.
There are opportunities in Equality Bill.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters