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Seeking Diversity in Employment; What's a Student to Do?

Seeking Diversity in Employment; What's a Student to Do?

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Published by Susan Klopfer
A student and her academic advisor talk over ways of seeking a diversified employment opportunity.
A student and her academic advisor talk over ways of seeking a diversified employment opportunity.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Susan Klopfer on Nov 21, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/21/2010

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Seeking Diversity in Employment; What¶s a Student to Do?
 By Susan Klopfer  Author, Profit From Diversity; Getting Along With Others*
Johanna and her academic advisor are talking about Johanna¶s future. As the end of fall term approaches,the senior transgender accounting student, born as ³John,´ is starting to look for a good internship with acompany that embraces diversity. ³How can I really learn what a company really does, versus what acompany says they do, with respect to diversity,´ she asks her advisor.³Especially, when reality is that diversity hasn't really happened in most companies, and progress remainsslow?´Johanna¶s advisor understands her student¶s apprehension, and adds her own perception,that by notdeveloping a diverse workforce from the top down African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans andAsian Americans are too often relegated to lower-skilled, lower-pay positions and are not able to fulfilltheir true potential. A poor economy has made this situation worse, she adds.³But somebusinesses are finally recognizing that diversity contributes to the bottom line in so many ways.They are finally understanding how diversity actually makes it easier to retain good employees or lower costs by developing skills in-house, and developing a reputation that helps attract new employees. This isespecially important as the economy starts to recover and the demand for skilled labor slowly starts toincrease,´the advisor states.As a sexual minority group member, Johanna knows that to advance her career, working for a corporationthat values workplace gender diversity is critical. ³Working for someone that really understands andadopts diversity means I will have more opportunities; it¶s a good indication of whether my employer willvalue my contributions, encourage my promotion, and provide training that will help me take on moreresponsibility, and pay me accordingly,´ she says.Johanna and her advisor decide to make a diversity checklist that Johanna and perhaps other students canuse when talking to recruiters. Here are some key indicators they believe will help determine if acompany is really committed to managing and valuing diversity:
y
 
Diversity at the Officer, Board of Director, and Senior management levels
y
 
Diversity among the highest salaried employees in the company
y
 
Diversity among the company's workforce as a whole
y
 
ecruiting for new hires in diversity-related publications
y
 
ecruiting at cultural or professional events
y
 
M
embership in professional organizations that represent diversity and multiculturalism
y
 
C
haritable contributions to diversity-related organizations³This is a good start,´ Johanna enthuses about the checklist. ³And believe me, I won¶t leave home withoutit!´While the list gives Johanna a good framework for her job hunt, others may feel the list would bestrengthened if it more clearly defined significant differences among people. While many who areconcerned with diversity, such as Johanna and her advisor, concentrate on such differences as ethnicity (aterm that defines a group of people whose members identify with each other through a common heritagesuch as a common language), culture, gender, and sexual orientation, diversity issues in the workplace

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