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Overcoming Obstacles Of Diversity In The Workplace

Workplace diversity has received a large amount of attention in recent years, with more and more minority groups attempting to break through the barriers that has prevented them from reaching the same career goals as others. Diversity is becoming increasingly important into today’s workplace as more people are becoming aware of their potential and are willing to go against the obstacles that have previously prevented them from doing so. The glass ceiling is one of the many obstacles faced by women and people of colour, however once breaking through this obstacle they begin facing more obstacles.

It is crucial for businesses to recognise diversity and take steps in creating a safer, more diverse workplace for minority groups, taking into consideration not only the discrimination laws that prevent discrimination but also ethical considerations that can have an effect on managers and other employees. There are a number of different aspects that contribute to the diversity of a workplace; these include age, race, religion and gender.

Despite the diverse and multicultural world we live into these aspects of a person’s identity still impact the opportunities and success of men and women in the work place. Having a diverse workplace comes with a wide range of benefits; having a variety of different people who have grown up with different beliefs, in a different generation and different experience can help a business have different approaches to situations, improve productivity, be reflective of your customer base and be more innovated (Davis, Frolova and Callahan, 2016).

These benefits are a large reason to why more and more managers are beginning to develop a more diverse work environment. Employing a people with a range of different backgrounds and experience can allow a business to connect with its customers from different backgrounds. Some of the most common aspects of diversity that is commonly considered in issues of diversity is racism among those seeking employment. Many employee’s find gaining employment is easier for people who have a certain ‘desirable’ appearance and background as opposed to someone who comes from a minority group.

Evidence of discrimination can be found in a 2003 racial discrimination experiment on black and white males applying for the same job; some with a non-violent criminal and others without. The results showed that out of participates, those without a criminal past 34% of the white males where called back and 14% of the black males where called; 17% of the white males with a criminal background where called back, while only 5% of the black males where (Sharp, 2015).

13 years later many people still face racial discrimination once finding employment and struggle to reach higher levels of employment, unlike the colleges who are not part of a minority (Whelton, 2016). Evidence shows that minorities face discrimination in all areas of employment, an issue that should not been seen in Australia today. Because of the information available to the public more people are aware of the different ways in which minority groups have been discriminated again, intentionally and unintentionally.

This information causes people to speak up about the lack of diversity in some workplaces and encourage managers to embrace the diverse community. For the minority groups, the challenges often faced in the workplace are significantly more challenging and different to those who belong to a more stereotypical group of workers. Typically most find that those is positions of authority in the workplace are white males, while those who struggle to reach higher positions of employment come from a minority group (women, age and people of colour) (Schermerhorn Jr et al. 2014).

The glass ceiling can be encountered by most minorities when working towards management jobs; however when they do break through these barriers they often face more challenges and obstacles in their way. For many women returning to work, after have time off after having a child can be difficult; as they have to adjust to their new roles and for many women in management positions, go back to a lower position and lower paying job (Macculm, 2015).

Obstacles like this are encountered like this by women returning to work constantly; after finally breaking through the glass ceiling and overcoming the hurdle of obstacles faced by women they have to begin working for a position like their previous job to once again become available to them. With more women returning to work in recent years more people are becoming aware of the disadvantages faced by women and the lack of diversity seen in workplaces today. More women are noticing their jobs being redesigned to give them less responsibility when returning to work.

In recent years the new wave of feminism that has been embraced by young men and women has resulted in more people speaking up against the lack of diversity and the unethical discrimination in the workplace towards minorities; especially women and women of colour has caused many people to speak up about the diversity issues faced by modern day managers. There are a number of different laws in place that prevent workforces from refusing work to individuals based on the age, gender or race.

These laws come under the Age Discrimination Act; 2004, Racial Discrimination Act; 1984, Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2010). These discrimination acts prevent managers from denying career opportunities to minorities based on age, gender or race. Discrimination Acts like these protect the interest of minority groups from being denied work, however it does not remove all the obstacles they will face in the workplace. Ethical considerations need to be made by managers when working with people from backgrounds that they don’t have an understanding of.

In order for managers to successfully run a diverse workplace they need to develop an understanding of their workplace, this can be done by talking to their employees, either face-to-face or anonymously so they can work on creating a safer workplace (Victorian Public Sector Commission, 2016). Paying attention and understanding the different needs of everyone in the workplace is important in modern day managers; Australia is a multicultural country and every workplace will have a number of people who have grown up with a different belief system to another.

Obeying the discrimination laws and working ethically to protect employees is one of the many reasonability’s of managers. The opportunities for minority groups to reach higher position in the work place is often prevent by the glass ceiling. Despite the increasing number of women returning to work and school in recent years, instead of being stay at home parents, men are still more likely to be find in high paying, high position roles while women and other minorities found themselves unable to advance in their career.

There is a large difference in the work place between men and women in leadership positions, despite 90. 1% of women aged between 20-15 having finished year twelve, and 39. 6% of women aged 25-29 have a bachelor’s degree, while men in the same age groups are less educated, 86. 3% and 30. 4% (Australian Government, 2016). Despite the evidence that more women are qualified for jobs and better educated for career opportunities, they are still over looked for positions in leadership; instead more men hold leadership positions.

Women hold only 15. % of CEO positions and 24. 7% of management positions (Australian Government, 2016) despite the higher level of education women have been receiving in recent years. Statistics such as these show that while women may be better educated to hold these positions they often are blocked by obstacles, such as stereotypes, family commitments or the glass ceiling effect. However in recent years there has been a number of organisations emerging with the aim of reaching out to women hoping to reach management positions (INSERT ORGANSATION NAME).

These organisations are largely beneficial for organisations as they help remove some of the challenges faced by managers and work to create a more diverse workplace that caters to the employees and customers. While women face a number of obstacles in the work place – Women of Colour, who are a double minority, face a larger amount of discrimination then white women. With White males making up the vast majority of management positions in the workplace women of colour are forced to overcome twice as many obstacles then men of colour or white women (Elliott and Smith, 2004).

Evidence such as these further suggests that organisations that provide support for minorities in the workplace can provide the public with more information about why diversity is important and requires the attention of managers. The more people educated on diversity and how it effects employees the sooner the wage gap between men and women will decrease and the amount of women in positions of power will increase and all minority groups will be offered the same opportunities as men.

Every business has a wide range of people, with different interest, beliefs and needs. This is why it is important for minorities to break through the glass ceiling and create a larger, more diverse workplace that has a better understanding of their consumers. Managers have a responsibility to create a safe workplace for all those involved in their organisation; this means have an understanding about how the different beliefs and requirements of their diverse workforce and the effect of this on the organisation.

Having a diverse workplace means that managers are required to have some degree of understanding to the different culture or religious beliefs that could affect an employee to complete certain aspects of the job. However, research has shown that non HR managers have very little understanding about how different beliefs in a diverse workplace can affect their employees (Davis, Frolova and Callahan, 2016).

This lack of understanding of cultural differences can have a negative effect on a workplace and can result in employees feeling discriminated against based on the sex, religion or culture. It is important for managers to pay attention to diversity in their workplace and actively work on having a better understanding about what they can do to have a positive effect on their business and not be in violation of any discrimination Acts due to their lack of understanding.

Modern day managers have a number of different responsibilities in the workplace today regarding diversity. There are a number of different laws which prevent then discrimination against people based on the age, gender and/or race which helps to promote diversity in the workforce. However, modern day managers must take into consideration the ethics involving diversity. In the multicultural Australia of today it is important that managers have an understanding of the laws and the ethics involved in a diverse workplace.

More women are returning to work in recent years and along with other minorities (such as people of colour) they face many obstacles that prevent them from obtaining management jobs or being treated the same was as their male colleges. Managers should be taken steps to create a safe and diverse work force; as more and more people begin developing a better understanding of what diversity is the expectations will rise in workforces.

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