The United States gets more diverse by the day, which means the workforce is becoming more diverse as well. Companies that work actively to make their recruiting and hiring practices more diverse are positioning themselves well for a future where the current status quo is likely to change significantly by 2045.
Per census data, by the middle of the 21st century the U.S. is in for some significant population shifts. White men (currently the lion’s share of the workforce) are projected to be a minority for the first time in U.S. history. If employers don’t keep up with the population trends and work to recruit and hire people across different races and ethnicities, this can lead to significant economic crises.
In a full employment economy, where unemployment is incredibly low, there may seem like little incentive to change things up. After all, open jobs will attract applicants, so the status quo is easy for organizations to maintain. But for companies who are actively seeking to make their hiring more diverse, there are plenty of reasons to change the longstanding thinking.
A diverse workforce is a nimble workforce
Racial and social diversity also brings diversified perspectives to the table. When team members have different perspectives and experiences, it can lead to better problem solving and more productivity overall. Studies have found that it’s not sameness that leads to team harmony, but rather shared goals and priorities.
Diversity improves your market engagement
If you have a diverse team, you will be better able to serve a diverse customer base, for whatever product or service your organization provides. According to a recent LinkedIn study, half of the employers surveyed said that they were embracing diversity recruitment programs in order to better connect with, understand, and serve their customers. Companies that end up speculating what a diverse customer base wants are often left with an artificial-feeling approach, and lack of authenticity rarely goes unnoticed by a customer base.
The idea that representation improves knowledge and output is not a new one, but the fact that companies are seeking to make this a permanent part of their hiring suggests that it’s a significant customer-facing strategy that will allow organizations to weather any big changes ahead.
Diversity improves recruitment
In recruiting and hiring, it can be easy to fall into the same recruitment ruts over and over—posting job advertisements in the same spots and recruiting at the same job fairs or schools. Truly seeking diverse applicants means also branching out the how of recruitment, not just the who. Expanding where you recruit means you’re reaching different pools of people who might not otherwise have been on your radar (or who might not have had your company on their radar), bringing in strong candidates who would have otherwise gone on to different opportunities.
Diversity is profitable
The numbers don’t lie. Studies have found that for every 1 percent of change in gender diversity in an organization, that organization sees 3 percent more revenue. And when you factor in racial, social, and ethnic diversity, the change is even clearer: every 1 percent of change can trigger revenue increases of 15 percent. When making the case for more (and sustained) resources devoted to hiring and retaining more diverse employees, revenue is always one of the most compelling arguments you can make.
In a full employment economy, increasing diversity isn’t a nice-to-have—it’s a must-have. Potential employees have more options than they would in a higher unemployment world, meaning they can shop around more. When organizations not only implement diversity-friendly hiring practices, but also put time, effort, and resources into supporting diverse employees from day one, they attract high-quality talent. It helps build the kind of forward-looking reputation and employer brand that will make for better recruitment and hiring for years to come.