D&I: Companies Must Walk the Talk.

Author:Andreasson, Cathy
Position:THE WORKPLACE - Diversity and inclusion

AS DIVERSITY and inclusion becomes one of the hottest topics on organizations' agendas, a survey conducted by Universum across a sample of more than 247,000 students in the 12 largest global economies reveal which companies are perceived as the most-inclusive and diverse workplaces in the world.

"We see a lot of effort by these employers in both promoting diversity and inclusion and working actively within their organizations. Students are looking into companies that are really working with D&I in a deep and meaningful way, not just talking about the numbers but in developing the culture, and in walking the talk," says Claudia Tattanelli, Global Account director at Universum.

The growing importance of D&I for corporations is clear and, even more so, it has been confirmed by the results of the Employer Branding Now (EB Now) Study, which included a sample of more than 2,000 global employers: 85% of them claim that hiring for diversity is considered a high priority and that the focus on communicating the topic has increased by 14% percent in the past three years (percentage of companies including D&I as part of their Employer Value Proposition).

"With the exception of the largest, most-valuable employer brands, emphasizing diversity in recruiting is still not the priority for most organizations, but we expect this to change," notes Tattanelli. "As more data becomes publicly available about the gender, as well as racial and ethnic composition of companies, and in particular of the top leadership roles within companies, we expect organizations will become more thoughtful about reviewing their hiring practices and internal support structures to make changes where they are overdue."

Diversity and inclusion is a fairly sensitive topic for millennials and Generation Z, who are now students and future employees. Universum was interested in understanding what diversity really means to these generations. What has been seen is a clear shift in the global perception of this topic: regardless of the country and regions across the globe, 93% of talent defines D&I at the workplace as cultural diversity, far outweighing age, ethnicity, or gender. In other words, D&I is not often seen as a visible trait, but rather associated with invisible factors.

When describing cultural diversity, talent focuses attention particularly on the personality traits, followed by socioeconomic backgrounds, nationality, work experience, and education rather than just on the...

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