Does diversity in the workplace ensure workplace equality?

10 May

It would appear on the surface that diversity in the workplace would ensure workplace equality but the truth is that just isn’t so. Having a diverse crew of personnel is however a good first step in that direction. That may be a bit hard to believe for those whom subscribe to the theory that is you put an eclectic mix of people together in the workplace that equality has been achieved, but I will describe the factors that actually go into creating workplace equality.

The appearance of equality isn’t equality. To achieve true parity people must be paid the same, given to opportunity to advance, and treated in an equal uniform manner. The pay scale is always the first place to look and the simplest measuring stick towards determining workplace equality. The simple fact is in many nations, not just the United States, women are on average paid less for doing the same job as men that have equal or less experience and tenure as well at times. Certainly this has been improving over time but the fact is as long as this pattern exists actual workplace equality has not been reached.

When we look at point two we have to consider whether or not each person has the ability to rise to the same levels within a company regardless of their differences. All too often many corporations still operate under the “good ol’ boys” network. This isn’t to say that there is no such thing as the “good ol’ girls” network either. In fact you can pick any demographic group based on things completely unrelated to a persons ability to perform their job successfully and see this phenomena. There are examples when men, women, people of different colors, religions, and nations of origin either fail to advance or advance far to slowly in comparison to people of commensurate skill levels and performance based on such things.

Such cliques even exist in regards to fraternal groups. It has long been known many organizations “take care of their own” as can be seen in organizations like the armed forces for example. It’s no secret “ring knockers” (A term used to describe graduates of the Military Academies) seem to rise higher and faster than similarly skilled and rated peers, even at times when that peer is actually a better performer and more suitable choice. This stretches out to include members of fraternities, sororities, and such social groups like the Knights of Columbus even just as an example.

Finally the manner people are treated on the job must be considered. Sexism, racism, and all forms of discrimination still exist and whether we want to admit this or not it does have an impact on the manner many people are treated on the job. Just consider how many rightful, not frivolous, but rightful lawsuits are filed every year based on improper treatment of employees and this is quite evident. Such stereotypes as demean employees whom are recruited to meet either legal or self imposed quota systems based on show rather than ability. When these otherwise qualified people are placed in tasks far below their ability and left there it is evident equality has not been reached. When they are treated in a manner that wrongfully paints them as inferior equality has not been reached.

Equality in the workplace goes far beyond just having a representative of each demographic group. That is window dressing. Having that diversity however and giving each person equal pay based on their performance and the ability to rise to equal levels unfettered is equality. Workplace diversity is a good start, but without those components of equal treatment equality has not been achieved

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