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The Reveal of Diversity and Inclusion Data Previously Neglected or Unimagined

November 22, 2023
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This is an extract from a forthcoming white paper, delving into some of counter-intuitive insights Diversity Atlas has revealed after almost three years of commercialisation of its diversity and inclusion data gathering platform.

By pooling a little over two years’ worth of customer data, the Diversity Atlas Anthrodata team have unearthed diversity and inclusion data insights and figures that have amazed us. Many seem counter-intuitive, but to coin a colloquialism, ‘the numbers don’t lie’. Over the coming years, with more customers in more countries across more industries coming on board, these insights will be given greater clarity, and a more comprehensive analysis will be published.

For the most part, all customers have expressed some level of surprise about the reveal – this is because no other survey has been built to capture this sort of diversity and inclusion data. The world-first platform, using the methodologies above, cannot help but reveal previously unknown data.

Observations such as neurodiversity numbers being much higher than ever thought, tenure being more of an indicator of sentiment than hierarchical position, much greater levels of LGBTIQ+ identification in Gen Z than any other generation are all intuitive (once considered) reveals, but the product brings proof to these theories, so that in our hands they become axiomatic.

Other ideas relating to diversity and inclusion data that may have been clear in mind, but are now brought to the fore with our data are:

• Christians are far more likely to identify by branch (eg Catholic, Orthodox etc) than Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus.

• Around one in 20 participants are actively hostile to DEI initiatives and the vast majority of them are white / Caucasian men.

• There is often a higher expectation for women to hold a tertiary degree than men to enter the same organisation in the same role. The same is also true of people not born in the country wherein the office is located.

• Employee Reference Groups (ERGs) work: For example, a company with a Pride group will see LGBTIQ+ sentiment figures closer to or even equal-to the overall figures than companies without ERGs.

However, for the purposes of this paper we have detailed below a selection of four neglected and/or counter-intuitive reveals our diversity and inclusion data gathering platform has unearthed in the last 24 months.

a) Diversity and Inclusion Data Reveal: Over 55s

The insight:

When compared to other generational or age groupings, those over 55 are the least likely to feel ‘included’ in the current workplace, even if they happen to be high up in the hierarchy. Prima facie this speaks to ageism, but a secondary observation speaks to a different issue. This secondary observation is that the over-55s are also the least likely to support DEI initiatives. In summary, the age group feeling least included is also the age group most likely to not want any initiative launched that will improve their sentiment levels.

The thought:

Rather than thinking of this as ‘ageism’, it speaks more to either alienation to current DEI trends (which in turn suggests companies can do more to speak to these over-55s and include them in the roll out of initiatives) but also potentially a fear of being replaced (which in turn suggests companies can do more to clearly define their futures, no matter how limited in years). It perhaps also suggests younger cohorts are not necessarily excluding older colleagues, it is that older cohorts are less inclined to include themselves.

b) Diversity and Inclusion Data Reveal: Religion by Number and Priority in non-Western regions

The insight:

Much is published about the decline of religion in Western culture and countries. Our figures back this general premise. We see in countries such as Germany, UK, USA and Australia less affinity and connection to organised religion in under 30s as we do with over 50s, for instance. But in the Islamic Middle East and Christian or Muslim Africa, we are seeing the opposite. Not only are we seeing a greater propensity to align with or identify as a congregant of a religion in these regions, through our question around priorities, even if steady in numbers across generations, for under 30s religious and/or spiritual beliefs is of a higher priority to their cultural identity than those over 50. To expand on this theoretically, a Christian in Cameroon is far more likely to select ‘My religion’ as an identity priority than a Christian in Australia, and a younger Christian in Cameroon is also more likely to select ‘My religion’ as a priority than an older Christian in Cameroon.

The thought:

Global companies headquartered in western countries looking to expand in Middle Eastern and African markets must plan for (not let dwindle) this potential increase in the need for religious accommodations. This is not just true for companies, but also for nations in a geopolitical sense.

c) Diversity and Inclusion Data Reveal: Priorities Shift

The insight:

It is not just religion. In every region, for every gender, for every industry, at every age, priorities are different. A collection of observations is below:

France and Italy‘My language’ often seen as highest cultural identity priority. Translation opportunities for staff will increase sentiment figures.
Under 30s‘My appearance’ often seen very high as a cultural priority when compared to older cohorts – this could refer to body type, shape, religious expression or even fashion.
Western Countries‘My religion’ is rarely in the Top 10 most common priorities, but is often the number one priority in parts of Middle East, Africa and some Asian countries such as Malaysia
Central and South AmericaThough tertiary education percentages might be lower than found in the Asia-Pacific region, those that do have tertiary degrees often rate ‘My Education’ as their number one cultural identity priority.
Government Organizations‘My politics’ consistently polls higher than in private organisations
Women‘My gender’ consistently in the top three (of 20) of cultural priorities, and conversely, it is consistently in the bottom three for men.
India‘My caste’ does not usually appear in the Top 10 for Indian cohorts, but it does appear in sufficient quantity to suggest careful examinations and planning.

The thought:

Establishing a workplace culture based around a set of values, a mission statement and a commitment to something may make more sense in one place than in another and mean different things to different people. The literal translation of an idea must come hand-in-hand with cultural translation, as well as the flexibility to adapt to local and / or demographic nuances. “When in Rome…” applies, but remember, “Rome” in that usage is a concept, not a place. “Rome” might be a cohort of women for whom ‘gender’ expression and identity is essential to their sense of social and cultural alignment, and therefore attempting to enact gender-neutral or gender-blind practices and programs may not be the panacea it purports to be in large swathes of DEI literature.

d) Diversity and Inclusion Data Reveal: The ‘boss’ has as much if not more sway than the company itself

The insight:

Sentiment figures around leaders and managers on the one hand and the organisation itself on the other are suspiciously similar when examining diversity and inclusion data. An optimist’s reading of this would be that leaders and their organisations are perfectly and pleasurably aligned in inclusive practices, but a more neutral view would be based on the observation that this is true no matter where the sentiment figure is found. It implies that no matter what the company does to express or deploy inclusive practices and values, they mean nothing if the participant’s direct manager does not uphold these values and put them into practice. The participant judges the company on the manager they report to, not the company itself.

The thought:

DEI initiatives lacking buy-in from managers are failing and will continue to fail.

If you want to see Diversity Atlas in action, hit me up! [email protected]

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