Colorblind in the Workforce

Andrea Martinez – Period 5, Honorbound

Diversity not only involves how people perceive themselves, but how they perceive others. Those perceptions affect their interactions. For a wide assortment of employees to function effectively as an organization, human resource professionals need to deal effectively with issues such as communication, adaptability, and change. Charles Wheelan states in Chapter 6 of his book, Naked Economics, that “human capital is the sum total of skills embodied within an individual: education, intelligence, charisma, creativity, work experience, and entrepreneurial vigor.”[1] Nowadays, some believe that different identity categories have different human capital in the workplace due to lack of opportunity in the past. But, statistics show otherwise.

A popular, controversial topic is women being thought to have less human capital, and therefore, not being a big help in the workforce. Yet, a McKinsey & Company study found that the increase in women’s overall share of labor in the United States—women went from holding 37 percent of all jobs to 47 percent over the past 40 years—has accounted for about a quarter of the current GDP.[2] This statistic proves that, although some believe the work place is a man’s domain for their greater potential human capital, the notion that women cannot demonstrate comparable human capital is invalid.

Diversity in the workplace is crucial because it reaches out to a diverse consumer base. Businesses should continue to capitalize on the growth of women, people of color, and gay and transgender people in the labor force. And this is not just my thought. According to a survey in a 2011 Forbes study, 85 percent of 321 large global enterprises—companies with at least $500 million in annual revenue— agreed or strongly agreed that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation in the workplace.[3] This study agrees with Wheelan’s idea that human capital is “inextricably linked to one of the most important ideas in economics: productivity.”[4], which is one of the biggest factors in a company’s success. Furthermore, between 2000 and 2050 new immigrants and their children will account for 83 percent of the growth in the working-age population.[5] Our increasing diversity is a great opportunity for the United States to become more competitive in the global economy by capitalizing on the unique talents and contributions that it brings to the table.

[1] Charles Wheelan. Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science [New York: Norton, 2010], 127.

[2] Burns, Sophia Kerby and Crosby. “The Top 10 Economic Facts of Diversity in the Workplace.” Center for American Progress. July 12, 2012. Accessed December 05, 2016. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/news/2012/07/12/11900/the-top-10-economic-facts-of-diversity-in-the-workplace/.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Charles Wheelan. Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science [New York: Norton, 2010], 135.

[5] Burns, Crosby, Kimberly Barton, and Sophia Kerby. “The State of Diversity in Today’s Workforce.” Center for American Progress. July 12, 2012. Accessed December 05, 2016. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/reports/2012/07/12/11938/the-state-of-diversity-in-todays-workforce/.

 

 

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