Penalised for Diversity – Is America Still Behind the Times?

Diversity has been making waves over the past year with celebrity stances being taken on the lack of black and ethnic minority actors at the Oscars, to the gender pay gap that has been identified. It’s an unavoidable topic that has been hot across the national press.

But despite the UK embracing the need for change, it appears our American cousins are still struggling to adapt their business practices to create an inclusive environment.

A recent study published in the Academy of Management Journal, has revealed that women and minorities actively promoting workplace diversity in the US were rated poorly in their performances compared to their white male counterparts.

Surveying over 350 executives about how they value those who promote diversity, it was a shocking revelation that it was not highly rated, with many going so far as dismissing resume’s that included experiences related to their ethnicity.

Why is this big news for the UK?
Well with a global presence that has seen many US companies want to place themselves in the growing UK economy, this could be cause for concern for those working on building a business case for diversity, especially if companies do not value it highly in their HR agenda.

Britain is still a long way off from being the pin-up for diversity, yet there have been many legislative introductions to force businesses to awaken to the need of diversity in the workplace.

Whilst women and ethnic minority is pay is still imbalanced in the US, the gender pay gap legislation bought in by the UK Government this year has recognised the need for businesses to be more open and address the issue.

Unfortunately, many US companies are not transparent about their employee composition, which draws criticism from those who seek to gain an open dialogue about diversity on a global scale.

As many studies have shown, a diverse workforce can be the linchpin of success. Harnessing a multitude of thoughts and visions, so that a business can be viewed by their customers as considerate of different thoughts and views.

Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Green Park Amir Kabel, has recently been outspoken with his views on the topic, commenting that “diversity is so much more than race or gender, it embraces knowledge, experience, education, religion, upbringing and more. Diversity is an issue that should always be high on the HR agenda for business”.

To not advocate diversity as a business could lead many professionals looking outdated in their approach.
Being penalised for diversity may be the way the world works across the pond, but the winds are changing here in the UK, and the US needs to catch-up.