Apple has been in the news recently. Not just for the introduction of the latest versions of its iPhone—iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, but for the appointment of Denise Young Smith as Apple’s new Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. But Apple isn’t the only tech giant to add and fill this role. On June 27, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced – via Twitter of course – the appointment of Candi Castleberry Singleton as its new VP of Inclusion and Diversity. Shortly thereafter, CNBC’s Courtney Connley discussed “3 Ways Twitter’s New VP of Inclusion and Diversity Could Shape the Company’s Culture.”
In a recent article for Harvard Business Review, Henrik Bresman and Vinika D. Rao looked at a 19-country survey to analyze the differences and similarities between Generations X, Y and Z. As a quick refresher: Generation X is generally considered to include those born before the 1980s, but after Baby Boomers; Generation Y (Millennials) are those born between the 1980s and the mid 1990s; and Generation Z is roughly defined as the cohort born after 1997.
The survey looked at 18,000 professionals and students across all three generations and in 19 countries. Here are some of the interesting findings reported by Bresman and Vinika.
The business media is continually reporting the unemployment rate is falling. In early August, the rate fell to around 4.3 percent. The demand for employees is high, and yet many people – particularly the long-term unemployed – are having a very hard time finding work, and some employers are finding it difficult to fill open positions – at least with the “right” people.
Sarah Sipek, writing for Career Builder reports that, “According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, the old adage may just be true. Nearly 68 percent of U.S. employers who said they were increasing their number of full-time, permanent employees in the first quarter of 2017 currently have open positions they can’t fill. The problem isn’t just a lack of candidates – it’s a lack of qualified talent.” But, is it really?
Millennials (Generation Y) are the largest cohort in the U.S. labor market, surpassing Generation X as of Q1, 2015, according to the Pew Research Center. And Generation Z is hot on their heels. As Deep Patel writes for Forbes, “Generation Z is comprised of an estimated 2.52 billion young adults, which is significantly larger than the populations of generations x and y.” While both Millennials and Gen Z bring valuable tech skills and knowledge to the table, a common concern voiced by employers is that they lack many of the softer skills organizations need to keep businesses running smoothly and moving forward.
A recently published “manifesto” by a Google software engineer has once again placed the issue of women in the tech industry in the spotlight. The 10-page paper argues, among other things, that women are simply not cut out biologically for careers in the tech industry and criticizes Google’s recent efforts at promoting greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Shortly after the paper made headlines, the author, James Damore, was terminated, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai cut short a family vacation to return to the office to disavow portions of the controversial memo.
We certainly don’t agree with Damore’s contention that women (or any group for that matter) are less biologically suited for careers in the tech industry. While it’s hard to defend – morally or scientifically – some of Damore’s comments have been defended, including by some within Google.
New Zealand has a long history of progressive culture and politics. As the country’s government website proudly boasts, this sparsely populated island at the far end of the world “became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.” The website further states, “New Zealand’s world leadership in women’s suffrage became a central part of our image as a trail-blazing ‘social laboratory’.”
That trend continues as female politician Jacinda Ardern, recently became the youngest leader of the New Zealand Labor Party ever. And yet, even in nations as socially progressive as New Zealand, stereotypes can rear their ugly heads from time to time. The question, as Camila Domonoske reported for National Public Radio, went like this:
Elizabeth Segran, writing for Fast Company, notes that to many – particularly Gen Xers and baby boomers – it might seem like there is little difference between Gen Y and Gen Z. Aren’t they both tech savvy and big into social media, etc.? “At 60 million strong in the United States, they outnumber millennials by 1 million,” she writes. “It would be easy to assume that they are just an exaggerated version of the generation that came before them, spending even more of their lives on social media, doing even more of their shopping online, and demonstrating an ever greater collaborative nicer nature,” says Segrans.
The thing is, they're not.
When most people think about diversity and inclusion, they tend to think primarily – although certainly not exclusively – in terms of visually identifiable characteristics, such as race and gender. The type of diversity that is apparent on a company website photo or clothing company magazine ad, with a half-dozen racially diverse men and women smiling and laughing together. But some suggest that younger generations might have a very different perspective on comprises “diversity.”
According to the Pew Research Center, millennials surpassed Gen Xers as the largest cohort in the U.S. workforce in Q1 of 2015. Yet, despite their prominent position in the workplace, there are still many misconceptions and stereotypes about millennials. We’ve selected a few to take a closer look at.
When it comes to diversity and inclusion, we’ve made the argument over and over again that the purpose of encouraging these two key values within an organization is not an altruistic but a strategic imperative. Diverse and inclusive companies consistently outperform companies that are less diverse and inclusive for a variety of reasons. We’ve talked about how diverse perspectives can help tap into diverse markets, for example. However, here’s another benefit of diverse and inclusive workplaces may often go overlooked.