Work is changing––again. As we all adjusted to the radical shift that resulted from the pandemic, 2023 brought about a further shift with return-to-office mandates, and a reduction in remote working.
Within the Eurozone, almost a third of workers want to work from home more frequently than their employer allows them to, according to a European Central Bank study, and they are willing to change jobs to achieve their goals, too.
An overlooked, but by no means less impactful shift is happening too thanks to the effect that younger workers are having on the companies and organisations they work for. Generation Z, a cohort born between 1997 and 2012, currently makes up 30% of the world’s population, according to the World Economic Forum, and is expected to account for 27% of the workforce by 2025.
Gen Z employees have very different ideas about the way they want to work, too. According to Deloitte’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, less than half of Gen Zs (48%) believe business is having a positive impact on society, and 60% believe businesses have no ambition beyond wanting to make money.
Because Gen Z workers prioritise companies that share their values, it is harder and harder for companies to practise “diversity washing” or “diversity dishonesty”.
Akin to greenwashing, diversity dishonesty is the disconnect between companies being vocal about their commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion in public communications––but, when it comes to their hiring practices or actual representations within the workforce, they don’t really measure up.
This month, as many countries celebrate Pride and companies dutifully change their branding or logo to include the LGBTQI+ flag, the issue comes into sharper focus.
Companies often pay lip service to the diversity issue without making any real change to their workplace culture. One study found that 55% of people are too scared to talk about diversity and inclusion, for fear of saying the wrong thing.
Another study by culture change organisation Right Track Learning found less than half of people felt comfortable talking openly about diversity and inclusion at work.
Opening the dialogue and implementing real change matters. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Davos 22 meeting highlighted the fact that the racial equity movement has lost momentum, while progress on LGBTQI+ rights “remains sharply divided and polarised by country”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also estimates that 1.3 billion people, or 17% of the global population, are living with disabilities.
WEF says the private sector is a key agent in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion action, and must prioritise D&I initiatives on the CEO agenda, embedding them into core business.
So, what can organisations do to ensure they are truly committed to moving the needle and creating stable and sustainable diversity and inclusion policies that will make a meaningful impact now––and in the future?
Professional mentorship programmes are one way to address the issue of diversity dishonesty and give both leaders and more junior members of staff to learn from each other and include minorities in decision making.
Similarly, graduate recruitment programmes aimed at successfully hiring across the board have been found to have a positive influence.
In the US, a study found that when companies implement a college recruitment programme targeting female employees, the amount of Black, Hispanic and Asian-American women in management rose by 10% on average.
However, if the company you work for doesn’t look like it will be making strides anytime soon and a culture of bias—unconscious or otherwise—persists, it could be time to move to a company that is dedicated to diversity.
And if you are starting your search, Silicon Canals Job Board is the perfect place. It features thousands of jobs in progressive companies, like the three below.
Streaming company Roku has a commitment to developing its network of employee-led groups (ERGs). These voluntary, employee-led groups help to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the company mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives. Want to work here? Discover all the company’s open roles here.
Energy company Octopus says that “The Black Lives Matter movement has sparked some crucial conversations within Octopus Energy about what we can do to affect meaningful change, both within our business and beyond.” The company also says that it is working hard to recruit, at all levels, people from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds and to ensure it is a workplace for everyone. To explore jobs at Octopus, click here.
Accenture has ranked top the Refinitiv Diversity & Inclusion Index for the third time in five years. DE&I is vital to the company with Julie Sweet, chair and chief executive officer saying that “it is essential to the growth of our business, our continued innovation and our ability to create 360° Value for our clients, our communities and all our stakeholders”. See all open roles now.