Diversity, Equality, and M Shaped People
Australian companies with more women in leadership positions perform 6.6% better, according to a 2020 study. With diversity and equality at the forefront of conversations about the labour market in recent years, these findings underline the benefit of fresh ideas at the top. Here is a look at some issues around equality and how the workplace should react to findings that suggest greater diversity is a driver of profit.
Is Digital Driving Equality?
Australian tech industries are beginning to resemble the culture of their American counterparts. Younger, more progressive college graduates are demanding their workplaces better represnt their ideals. These attitudes toward equality and diversity could trigger a shift in broader workplace culture over the coming years.
Equal Parental Leave as a Benefit
As tech companies grow and compete for staff, equal parental leave is being offered as a benefit. Attitudes towards parenthood change from generation to generation. Newer fathers want to play a larger role in their children’s lives and take a greater share of domestic responsibilities.
Tech company’s commitment to equality may end up giving them an edge over more traditional industries. If they want to compete for the best staff, more traditional companies will need to re-think the benefits they offer. The alternative is being left behind.
The Ideal Business Equality Report
The data from the WEGA is so interesting that it begs another question. What other information could be captured to get future useful insights? Capturing data on age could highlight how over-55s are undervalued. Additionally, reporting on second languages could target a diversity of thought. Deeper reports could help companies identify staff who can offer different ideas and solutions that speak to the large sections of the population they represent.
Consequences of Machine Learning Bias
A crucial reason for greater diversity is machine learning. As machine learning is used to solve everyday citizens’ problems, it opens the door to a disturbing reality.
Machine learning algorithms frequently behave in the same way as their builders. Additionally, the data used to teach these machines is often culled from times of greater inequality.
Uses like criminal sentencing or loan applications can produce troubling outcomes. More must be done to ensure the data they use — and those who design them — are representative of the population. Otherwise, we risk baking in old-world attitudes and inequalities for generations to come.
Should You Trust Your Gut?
New graduates face a different, more equal workplace than ever. More and better opportunities are available than in the past. Seizing these chances by jumping right in is vital. Openness to ideas and saying yes to these possibilities is the best way to take advantage of a more diverse workplace.
But trusting your gut is also essential. The ability to say no to situations that just don’t feel right is important to cultivate. Life’s biggest regrets come when you say yes to something you knew deep down wasn’t right. Don’t shy away from opportunity, but remember to trust your instinct.
I Shape. T Shape. Now M-Shape?
Tech is inspiring a shift in the kind of employee required for more complex solutions.
Traditionally, I Shape people are specialists in a single field -e.g. an accountant. In comparison, T Shaped people have an area of specialization coupled with a desire to make connections across other disciplines.
However, M Shaped people may be the kind of employee that is best adapted to a changing landscape. They possess the multi-disciplinary curiosity of the T shape, but through further learning and development, specialise in multiple fields. This oversight and understanding of disciplines give more fertile possibilities for collaboration. Also, by combining three separate disciplines, M Shaped employees might be capable of delivering complex projects on their own.
Advantages of a Curious Mindset
Curiosity is an excellent workplace trait exemplified by M Shaped people. The desire to understand how things work, and why they work, leads to greater knowledge. Understanding the ideas and people around you leads to greater empathy, self-awareness, and humility.
When Will We See Broader Diversity Attitudes?
Attitudes in workplace culture are often slow and resistant to change. Organisations already committed to progress will see this report as a vindication of existing policy. However, these issues have been on the table for decades, and old attitudes still persist. But, with such clear data on the benefits of more women in leadership, those who don’t react will pay the penalty of a missed opportunity for growth.