Gender diversity not reflected in NZ workforce - research

Weekend Life 09/06/2018
Image: Unsplash.

New gender diversity research shows that while we all think we have a diverse country, it’s not reflected in our workforce.

The research was undertaken by Kantar TNS in partnership with M2Woman.

Kantar TNS’s Emma Eichbaum told Carly Flynn that this is a problem because many of us also believe that diversity is really important for business success.

“If we’re sort of in our own fishbowls and eco chambers...we’re actually missing out on new ideas, new learnings, new ways of connecting with people.”

Ms Eichbaum said the most disturbing statistic was that 70 percent of senior leaders think diversity is important for business success, but only 15 percent feel they need to be doing more to promote diversity in the workplace.

This indicates that there may be some unconscious bias at play and that people may think that they’re already doing enough to encourage diversity. Unconscious bias refers to a bias that we are unaware of and which happens outside of our control.

“So long as this gap exists between diversity in our population and diversity in our workforce, senior leaders actually need to be doing much more,” Ms Eichbaum told RadioLIVE.

Some businesses already have diversity policies in place, but to really make a difference, Ms Eichbaum believes we need to report outcomes, be transparent about the outcomes and be accountable for what happens next.

In addition to gender diversity, the Kantar TNS research also investigated age, race, and sexual preference.

Ms Eichbaum says that ethnic diversity lacks in business, and they’re hearing of more anecdotal evidence of ageism in the workplace.

“New Zealand is going to be an even more ethnically diverse population over years to come...and we need to start thinking about how we reflect that back in our workforces.”

Listen to the full interview with Emma Eichbaum above.

Weekend Life with Carly Flynn,10am - 2pm on Saturday and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.