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: Millennials want to work in diverse and inclusive environments!
According to the Pew Research Center, millennials overtook Gen Xers to become the largest cohort in the American workforce in Q1 of 2015, and their proportion will only continue to grow. Forbes predicts they will make up a whopping 75 percent of the workforce by 2030. This group represents the engine of our economy and the cohort that companies must look to when seeking top talent.
According to Weber Shandwick, 47 percent of millennials believe diversity and inclusion are important factors in considering a new job, compared to 33 percent for Gen Xers and 37 percent for baby boomers. Part of this preference may be due to the fact that millennials themselves are more diverse than Gen Xers or boomers and want to work with people that are like them; however, that certainly doesn’t fully account for the preference.
Millennials find diverse and inclusive workplaces exciting and enlightening in ways older generations do not. A big reason for this is fundamental. Millennials view diversity differently than older generations. It isn’t all about percentages of minorities and women in the workplace. According to Kaplan Mobray, “They view inclusion in the workplace as a supportive environment that gives a voice to all different perspectives on a given issue, from the leadership to the newest hires. It is their perception that this type of diversity is what fosters true innovation, which is one of the most important job skills to possess.”
As millennials continue to take over the American workplace, savvy companies will do everything they can to attract the best and brightest – and keep them. Those that are already pursuing policies to promote diversity and inclusion will have a leg up on the competition. Where do you stand on this continuum? Remember, inclusive in a business imperative! With the growing cohort of millennials in the workforce – and among consumers – that imperative is growing.