There are lots of different types of diversity in the workplace to consider when it comes to DEI. Check out our 10 types of diversity at work.
What do you think of when you hear the word 'diversity'?
Most of us immediately think of racial diversity or gender diversity. While these are important aspects of diversity, there are a lot of other types of diversity that people commonly overlook. The word ‘Diversity’ means a range of differences. So, when thinking about DEI at work, remember to consider the whole range of differences across your team.
Types of Diversity at Work
Check out the 10 types of diversity at work to include in your DEI strategy:
1. Race and ethnicity Racial diversity might be one of the most common examples of diversity, but it is also often misunderstood. Race refers to biological identity, whereas ethnicity refers to culture and history. Examples of race include white, Black, Asian, Native American, etc. Examples of ethnicity are Hispanic or Latinx, Jewish, etc. 2. Sex, gender, and gender identity Biological sex refers to the biological differences between males and females. Gender is often confused with sex, but it refers to social roles which are typically identified with a person’s sex. There is a wide spectrum of gender identities. Staff may identify as transgender or non-binary, for example, and may choose to use different pronouns.
3. Sexuality Sexuality is who a person is attracted to. This might be considered ‘personal’, but it’s important for LGBTQ+ staff to feel comfortable and safe to express their sexuality at work. 4. Religions and spiritual beliefs There is a wide range of different religions and belief systems across the world. Employees may wear religious clothing, need designated space to pray, or time off to observe religious holidays. 5. Disabilities Around 61 million adults in the US live with a disability. Disabilities may refer to physical conditions but also cognitive disabilities and mental illness. Not all disabilities are visible. Staff may accommodations specific to their needs. 6. Neurodiversity Neurodiversity encompasses a range of conditions including autism, ADHD, and dyspraxia amongst others. These neurological differences mean that employees may think differently from their neurotypical colleagues. Research shows that neurodiverse individuals can recognize complex patterns and bring new perspectives. 7. Socio-economic background Socioeconomic status impacts a person’s background, experiences, attitudes, and opportunities. For example, it often has a significant impact on education in particular. It is often tied to income but is also influenced by parental income and class. A person’s income might change throughout their life. However, their socio-economic background, and that of their parents, has a lasting impact. 8. Age Diversity Age is an important aspect of diversity that is often overlooked. People often develop stereotypes about certain generations. For example, ‘Boomers’ ‘Millennials’ and ‘Gen Z’ have all seen different portrayals in the media, biases, and misconceptions. Ageism can affect anyone. Younger workers might be alienated as they lack experience, or it is assumed older workers can’t learn new skills or technologies. People of every generation can bring something to the table in the workplace. Staff of every age should feel included and valued for their contributions. 9. Nationality/Geographical location Nearly 27% of the US population are first or second-generation immigrants. Employees of different nationalities might have different cultural backgrounds and speak different languages. Equally, geographical location can be an important factor in someone’s background. For example the experience of living in rural areas vs major cities, or contributing to their accent. Recruiting employees from a range of nationalities and locations will make your company more diverse. It will also make your company more representative of the wider population and add a rich range of experiences to your company.
10. Life Experiences A person’s life experiences shape their thinking and worldview. People can have a variety of different life experiences. This could include staff who are parents, veterans, or even those with a criminal background. Employers should be open-minded about the backgrounds of applicants. You should also consider what people of different backgrounds could contribute to the company. Hiring people with very similar backgrounds can lead to a homogenous culture which stifles innovation.
Improve diversity in your workplace
A team with a diverse range of backgrounds, experiences, and characteristics creates a rich company culture. It means different ways of thinking, which leads to innovation, creativity, and problem-solving. Diverse workforces also see higher employee engagement and retention, and ultimately, increased profits. Diversify the Future is shaping the future of STEM by ensuring that diverse and under-represented communities have access to education and qualifications. We are supported by Engtal, a leading US technology and engineering staffing firm. For every under-represented candidate that Engtal places, they donate $1000 to our scholarship fund. This supports individuals from under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds to access STEM-specific college scholarships.