Simply put, diversity means difference. In an employment context, it means ensuring that organisations recruit and retain the best person from the widest possible talent base regardless of gender sexual orientation, age, race, religion or disability. It also means that organisations should recognise different approaches are required for different people who have different needs and expectations. The emphasis is placed on valuing difference as opposed to fitting in.
Legislation and other social, economic and demographic changes in Scotland, act as driving forces to diversity in Scotland’s workplaces. Factors include, a declining overall population, increases in minority ethnic population and migrant workers. Increasing numbers of women entering the workforce; people with disabilities, gay and lesbian people challenging stereotypes
These changes will mean that traditional patterns of employment are changing together with employees also having higher expectations of their employers to accommodate their needs, through for example, flexible working and "work-life balance".
Recognising diversity means understanding how people’s differences and similarities can be mobilised for the benefit of the individual, the organisation and society as a whole. Different groups of people offer different skills that can improve an organisation’s ability to deliver goods and services, adding value and sustainable competitive advantage. This holds true for all organisations whether they are large or small, public or private or not for profit sectors, including Trade Unions.
Specific benefits will vary depending on priorities for each organisation but can include:
As the markets of tomorrow will be characterised by diversity and not uniformity, the One Workforce Equal Rights project provides a one-stop shop for information, advice and training to enable Trade Unions to promote equality and, consequently, influence employers to eliminate racism and embrace diversity in workforce as a business strategy to maximise skills and experience from all categories of employees.
CBI director-general and CRE commissioner Digby Jones makes the business case for racial equality in the age of globalisation, while TUC leader Brendan Barber calls for action to resist disadvantage, discrimination and scapegoat politics.
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