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Preferable Workers

It will still take many years to completely eliminate the racial, cultural and gender based discrimination at work.

Can you guess someone’s job according to their socio-economic class, gender, age, race or caste??

We all know that there have been inequalities all around the world based on gender, caste, color etc. Inequalities is seen everywhere; from East to West, North to South- only the degree may vary.

In this context, there was a time when a certain class of people or gender used to take a certain kind of job or certain position in job.

In countries like India and Nepal, basically in Hindu culture, caste system had been created in ancient times according to the jobs people do. People preaching spiritual knowledge were called Brahmins, people having courage and physical strength for protection and administration were called Kshatriyas, people responsible for the business etc were called Vaishyas and people occupying the positions of labour workers were called Shudras. Caste system still persists in this part of the world but the same rule doesn’t follow for the distinction of work; at least not as much as before.

In the Western countries, white collared jobs were usually occupied by white males. Decades later, there have been progress in minority executive employment. It seems the fights for equal rights, government policy of supporting diversity and media focus on the subject have resulted in some impact. The system supporting diversity is quite large — government agencies, formal corporate diversity programs, universities, consultants, and dozens of civil rights advocacy groups. But the change is quite slow paced.

Detailed analysis of employment numbers can help us understand racial and gender income inequality in USA. A review of white-collar employment data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reveals serious gaps in income, promotional opportunities, and advancement for minorities and women of all races.

Today, after the rapid social movements, the scenario for preferable workers for Government agencies and companies has changed quite a bit but let us analyze some things that still persists or is still under discussions:

Male vs. Female preference

Gender Diversity is a hot agenda today around the globe. Gender diversity may be a politically correct term, but when it comes to job hiring, especially in the Corporate field, the reality is men are preferred to women even if the two are equally qualified for the same job. And we all know about the sensitive issue of gender pay gap.

Harvard’s global online research study, which included over 200,000 participants, showed that 76% of people (men and women) are gender-biased and tend to think of men as better suited for careers and women as better suited as homemakers.

The consequences of unequal gender representation in the global workforce are extensive, and they primarily branch off of the concept of heightened thought diversity. Women bring different approaches to leadership style, work strategy, conceptualization, management, delegation and mentorship amongst other functions assigned to those in leadership roles. They are better decision makers, can handle situation more efficiently and are very good managers.Some studies have even proved that women are better leaders because they are better than men in taking initiative and clear communication; openness and ability to innovate; sociability and supportiveness; and methodical management and goal-setting.

When we talk about gender in workplace, we’re really talking about the power of having diverse viewpoints on anything, which brings great possibility to the task.

The concept of ”Men at Work” has been now changed to ”People Working.”

All the corporate and government initiatives are just a start, the real change can happen only when we succeed in addressing the deep-rooted mindsets about the role of women at work.

Cultural Diversity

As correctly told by Malcom Forbes, “Diversity is the art of thinking independently together.”

While there were only a certain kind of people in mainstream jobs before, today’s workforce is made up of a very diverse population of individuals. Same type of people usually used to bring same type of ideas, decisions, policies which used to be traditional and non-progressive in the past, whether it be in the Government Institutions or Private Cooperatives but thanks to the different government and private sector initiatives, we are now bringing diversity in our work, in most of the countries.

Why cultural diversity? Because it can benefit a company or Government institution in many ways. Cultural diversity helps to create dynamic multiracial and multicultural environment in the workplace. Such diversity brings with it many differences in skills, abilities and experiences. People with different backgrounds have different interpretations of events and they contribute unique perspectives. This allows the team to look at problems from different angles and create innovative results.

Many people with older mindsets are against this system of recruiting individuals from different culture, background and race.

For diversity to bring strength, it must be valued and integrated into practices. This takes time and commitment to celebrate diversity. It requires the willingness to be open-minded and non-judgmental about the value of differences.

Affirmative Action

Currently, many countries across the globe have pursued affirmative action measures to bring into mainstream the marginalized and backward groups of the community. In recent global trend, we can see that not only Governments but even the private corporations and Universities are applying affirmative action program because now people are aware about the competitive advantages of a workforce comprised of people from diverse backgrounds with a wide variety of skills and cultural competencies.

The nature of affirmative action policies varies from region to region. Some countries use a quota system, whereby a certain percentage of government jobs, political positions, and college seats are reserved for members of a certain group; an example of this is the reservation system in Nepal and India.

In some countries, this kind of quota system is not assured but minority group members are given preference or special consideration in selection processes. In some countries, the focus is to ensure equal opportunity for all and so they do not believe in having a quota but treat everyone equally.

There is no doubt that these are the excellent steps taken by the Government and organizations around the globe. But, affirmative action in employment and education has been the subject of legal and political controversy everywhere. People argue that this is leading to Reverse Discrimination because affirmative action treats majority groups unfairly and the policy provides preferential treatment only to the minorities. People also say that it places the focus on racial and gender related issues when employers should primarily focus on how well a potential employee will perform in a particular position.

This is a never-ending and controversial issue but it will still take many years to completely eliminate the racial, cultural and gender based discrimination at work.

Preference of the workers?-The other way round

The situation is reversing today-like what we call karma. While certain caste, race or type of people were preferred for certain types of jobs in the past, the situation is changing to a certain extent today. Nowadays, people tend to choose job according to their desire.

Before few years, taking a certain job and staying with it for the rest of your working life was the primary career goal. But now, job hopping has become more the norm among workers and employers realize that experience with diverse institutions has its benefits. According to a research, the average worker today has been at their job for 4.2 years, but the typical tenure for many millennials is about half of that. It is because today’s generation do not want to stay in a stagnant position. Everyone is looking for better opportunity, people are looking for better growth, money, diverse experiences rather than a long term job which gives security but gets boring with time.

The way forward:

Should Government jobs, private companies and other organizations give equal opportunity to everyone for job? Or should they take employers as preferred by them?? Should the employees remain in the same job for many years to increase the productivity? Or long term experiences doesn’t necessarily mean increase in productivity? These all are issues of hot debate. Every country, company or organization must sort this out realizing what is best for them.    

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