As workplaces are coming to terms with diversity and inclusion, I sit here thinking, about bloody time we are having this conversation! This seems so outdated, so backward that it is even a topic of discussion and yet somehow, work places are only coming to terms with the fact that multiculturalism, gender equality and the rainbow community may not just bring a broader range of ideas to work places, and give companies an edge, but also will bring in more proﬁt. Hurrah. About time that the penny has dropped!
For a multi-cultural society like New Zealand, I dread to think how long it has been the status quo that the top of the game has always been a male, pale and stale demographic, that has ruled the workplace. Even then that terminology gives me the shudders as it is basically writing off so many successful people based on their gender, ethnicity and age. The exact opposite of what we are trying to promote! Surely, we need to be better than that. Surely, we can look at the past, analyse the present and think ahead. And CHANGE. Thank goodness that change is afoot! What a time to be alive.
Certain more traditional industries seem to still be in the dark ages in some ways, but thankfully the realisation that ‘just because this is the way it has been done, doesn’t mean it is right’ philosophy is challenging the status quo.
Pigeon-hole me. I’m a white, middle class, married, mum of two kids, living in suburbia. As predictable as this sounds, I also have a career in recruitment. I truly believe that merit, skill base, willingness to learn and determination and drive is what gets people the job, and deﬁnitely ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality should not play a part in these decisions. Part of our role as Recruitment Consultants is to work without bias, look at the work place environment, to put forward the absolute best person for the role, the best person that would fit into the organisation, breaking down this bias and giving clients a mix of candidates regardless of their background.
From another perspective, there is concern that with all the focus on diversity and inclusion that employers may also try and ﬁll a quota, based on ethnicity, gender and sexuality. Shouldn’t it also be taking into consideration the ‘right person for the job’ ? Obviously there needs to be a balance here. Let’s bring people in respectfully, because they deserve to be there, not because they tick a box and fill your quota. Let’s not stereotype people. I don’t think a tick box-based solution is the answer to ensuring that there is diversity in the workplace. It is a complex issue which involves thought, attracting and promoting roles to all demographics. It also starts at the school level from the ground up, promoting equality, educating our young to know that their work options are wide and varied and that they can do anything and be anything that they want! In fact, I feel that the next generation coming through will be extremely experimental due to their multitude of options. It is going to take time for change, there is no quick solution.
I know certain companies whereby recruitment hinges on a personality test, which makes me think, isn’t that just another form of anti-diversity? Only employing the same personality type into an organisation, doesn’t that defeat the whole diversity and inclusion vibe? Are we all going to be pigeon-holed into a certain ‘type’? I also feel like these personality tests can differ entirely depending on what is happening in one’s life. Personality is not just fixed, it is situational, fluid and I don’t think it is as easy as answering a few questions. I feel that psychometric testing absolutely has a place, but should someone’s job hinge on this? I am extremely dubious.
I think we need to change our way of thinking and the language that we are using. Let’s stop talking like something is wrong with us, and that everything is right with us! Let’s stop categorising people so blatantly. Aren’t we all one people, with shared goals, shared wants and needs, and the desire to be treated fairly and equally? I worry that we could potentially be putting people into a box, giving labels to people. Let’s all be proud of our heritage, proud that we are New Zealanders, proud of who we are. Let’s be loud and proud, beating our fists against our chests as leaders of a more diverse work force.
Lyrics by Logic
I don’t wanna be black, I don’t wanna be white, I just wanna be a man today
I don’t wanna be a Christian, Muslim, gay, straight, or bi, see you later, bye
Not perceived by the things I believe or the colour of my skin
Or the fact I’m attracted to her, maybe him
Or the fact I’m a single mother living all alone
Looking for a man and a home to call my own
But I already have one