Employers told not to hire ‘Mini Me’

Cultural diversity

Employers need to embrace the business benefits of more women in senior roles and a greater mix of ethnic diversity throughout their organisation to avoid the need for quotas.

So says the managing director of Hays Asia Pacific urging business to get on board now voluntarily.

“Gender quotas are very much the public face of the diversity agenda, but many remain sceptical about their effectiveness when it comes to driving performance, change and share value,” Mr Heap says.

“Some organisations fear that a box-ticking approach to recruitment is not compatible with the aim of acquiring the very best talent.  

“Others say that set quotas harm the notion of promotion on merit, can lead to ‘tokenism’ and can simply result in the same women taking on more boardroom roles, rather than bringing in new blood at higher levels.

“Yet the perception remains that not enough is done to promote gender diversity. In a recent Hays survey, 64 per cent of over 1,100 Australian respondents thought organisations do not do enough to help women reach the top or that more could be done.

“Inclusion goes beyond gender box-ticking. If employers are actively encouraged to seek out candidates who will bring different perspectives and ways of problem-solving to the mix, the net result would be that more women – as well as more varied cultural backgrounds – would hold senior roles.  This brings the focus to the benefits diversity can bring a business.

“The business case is compelling – in March a global poll of 241 companies by law firm Eversheds concluded that there was a clear correlation between smaller, more diverse and more independent boardrooms and share price performance and company success.

“A genuine engagement and willingness to embrace diversity and inclusion when it comes to recruitment and promotion leads to the business benefit of different ways of thinking. Sometimes, it can require a shove from above, such as quotas, to encourage employers to make diversity reality.”

Achieving diversity is a major story in the latest issue of the Hays Journal tracking Australian and international labour trends.

CareerOne.com.au, October, 2011.

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