The Relevance and Significance of Diversity and Inclusion Strategies in a Tight Labour Market

Subject: Gender Pay Gap
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 10
Word count: 2518
Topics: Gender Pay Gap, Human Resources, Management, Work Ethic
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INTRODUCTION

The workplace in the present century has gone through notable tremendous changes including the embrace of diversity and inclusion as a part of business best practices. The Deloitte University Press (2017) report on global human capital trends show that about 69% of its survey respondents believe that diversity and inclusion is an important component of an effective workforce. For example, there has been a notable increase in the number of women, people with disability, and individuals from minority groups holding high management positions. These trends have not been any different in the United Kingdom (UK). Today’s workforce in any part of the world including the UK is characterized by a diverse workforce (Aluttis, Bishaw, & Frank, 2014). However, the trend as it is, the minorities in the UK only hold 6% management jobs (Chartered Management Institute, 2017).

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From an organizational policy context, diversity refers to the dimensions adopted to delineate the differences that exist between individuals and groups (Earley, 2017). Such differences may be on the precepts of elements such as gender, ethnicity, age, disability, nationality, religion, education or sexual orientation (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2017). A proper adoption of diversity in the workplace can be a great source and driver of business innovation especially when there is an unequivocal placement of value and respect for diversity. Inclusion, on the other hand, refers to the value, respect and support granted to the different individuals and groups representing various diversity orientations with the aim of ensuring each individual is able to realise his or her full potential at the workplace (Earley, 2017; Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2017). In summary, while diversity refers to the different individual and group mix at the workplace, inclusion entails the facilitation of the mix to work together effectively and efficiently.

The opening up of the global labour market ensures that it is possible for individuals from varying backgrounds and diversities to work together. In essence, the phrase “Tight Labour Market” is a connotation of the existence of a greater supply of jobs against a backdrop of low supply of labour (Chapple & Lester, 2010). Globalisation has increasingly led to the occurrence of a huge supply of jobs especially with the opening up of international boundaries to workers which mean that there is a greater demand for workers. In addition, different workers from different backgrounds present varying socio-cultural diversities that must be taken into account if there should be any attempt to bridge the gap created by the greater supply of jobs against the low supply of the necessary workforce across the globe (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014; Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2016). 

On the other hand, the continued expansion of multinationals into new territories also leads to the experience of labour transfer which subsequently orchestrates the exposure of individuals to new dimensions as well as facilitates them to express their diversities in the new environment (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014; Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2016). It is thus important to incorporate inclusion strategies and mechanisms as part of the adopted management practices in an organization (Martín et al 2013).  Management of diversity and inclusion in the global workplace is a significant preceptor for achieving organizational success satiated by a socio-culturally diverse workforce (Guillaume et al., 2017). This study seeks to investigate the dynamics of workforce diversity and inclusion in the UK, the parameters and management practices that define successful embrace and management of diversity and inclusion, as well as the benefits and challenges associated with adopting diversity and inclusion management practices at the workplace.

Background and Overview 

The global economy is currently supported by an array of a workforce which reflects a wide spectrum of diversity. The level of workforce diversity in the UK is quite high. There are increased numbers of young people as well as women taking echelons of leadership in various organizations (Pfeiffer & Wechsler, 2013; Downs et al., 2014)).  As it is, the continued impact of globalisation can only lead to the transfer of new employees together with their wide array of diversity to new locations across the globe (Wang, 2015). An increased entry of workers subscribing to different faiths as well as varying socio-cultural orientations has been evident in the UK (Hardy, Eldring, & Schulten, 2012).   It is expected that the trend will grow and thus it is not possible to wish away the issue of diversity in the workplace. Individuals with vital skills and competencies that may lead to the successful performance of an organization may identify with what may somehow appear as conflicting diversity and their inclusion in the organization can be a useful undertaking (Wang, 2015). It is therefore paramount to devise subtle management practices that will both tap into the resourcefulness of such individuals as well as address the issues of diversity and inclusion wisely and amicably. Institutional capacity development on the capability to implement diversity and inclusion sensitive policies should be a head-start that many organizations should pursue (van Kerkhoff & Lebel, 2015). Diversity and inclusion management practices in the UK companies just like anywhere else around the world have the potential of easing human resource management. The capability of an organization to implement diversity and inclusion sensitive policies creates a favourable working condition for its workers and will not only help in enhancing the resourcefulness of the human capital but also contribute immensely to the overall performance of the firm (Sabharwal, 2014). 

Supporting and managing diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not an easy endeavour and it is actually one of the fundamental issues that human resource personnel grapple with more often than not (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). Therefore it calls for the adoption of innovative approaches to ensure the attribute of succinct diversity and inclusion is addressed satisfactorily.  While diversity and inclusion management in the workplace has the capacity to contribute to employee empowerment and satisfaction, employee productivity, bridging of organizational labour demands, increased organizational performance, and increase in organizational market share, failure to incorporate it within the adopted management practices can result in serious repercussions (Earley, 2017).  

Problem Definition and Rationale

Developing a workforce diversity inclusion factor is increasingly becoming an unavoidable management practice for many organizations (Kumra, 2014). As the opening up of the global space continues to ignite an increase in job openings, it is also making way for a diverse group of the workforce. As a way of promoting the responsiveness of the labour force, diversity management at the workplace remains a very significant element whether the scope of such management is at a local or global level. Importantly, depending on the level of significance, diversity management can depict from the individual, organisational, and national/ global levels (Al Ariss, Cascio, & Paauwe, 2014). Therefore, a subtle interpretation of these elements grants a vantage point in the implementation of successful diversity management and inclusion practices and policies at the workplace. The basis of diversity management is to be able to achieve equitable employment outcomes for every worker in a firm (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014; Konrad, Yang, & Maurer, 2016). 

While there are tonnes of studies that have attempted to research on the issue of diversity and inclusion in different settings across the globe, there are few studies that have actually investigated this phenomenon in the UK (Lorbiecki & Jack, 2000; Bridgstock et al., 2010; Tatlı, 2010; Greene & Kirton, 2010; Colgan, 2011). One such study was undertaken by Guerrier and Wilson (2011) whose interest was to probe the representation of diversity on UK company websites. Therefore, this study intends to contribute to the bridging of the knowledge gap surrounding the dynamics of the issue of diversity and inclusion in UK companies. One of the possible facets of diversity inclusion is the element of organizational policy review aimed at promoting diversity appreciation (Sabharwal, 2014). This is one of the possible areas that this paper will attempt to probe. Establishment of the elements that influence the successful implementation of diversity and inclusion sensitive policies at the organizational level is definitely a pivotal step that should draw the attention of the senior management of an organization as a modality of seeking solutions to overcoming setbacks that can hinder successful implementation of diversity and exclusion at the workplace. It calls for developing a ‘global mindset’ and ‘cultural intelligence’ (Cerdin & Brewster, 2014) 

There is definitely a strong connection between organizational policies and diversity and inclusion management and thus any factor that possibly promotes or impedes this connection definitely influences successful implementation of diversity and inclusion sensitive policies in a firm (Davis, Frolova, & Callahan, 2016). Companies must develop and promote a culture of diversity and inclusion if they want to attract some of the best talents across the globe as part of their workforce. Diversity management contributes significantly to talent management which entails the identification, attraction, engaging, retaining and deployment of individuals that can add value to an organization (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2017). However, it will be more vital for them to be cognizant of some of the factors that can promote or hinder a successful implementation of diversity and inclusion culture within their operations. This way, they may be able to come up with cautionary measures that can help them develop a renowned identity of diversity and inclusion and hence attract the best talents in the global marketplace (Ng & Burke, 2005; Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2017). 

Aims and Objectives

This dissertation will aim to evaluate the relevance and significance of diversity and inclusion strategies in a tight labour market. Through relevant data collection and analysis strategies, the study will aim to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Objective one – to explore the business benefits of adopting comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategies within UK companies, particularly in the context of a tight UK labour market. 
  2. Objective two – to present recommendations for the successful implementation of diversity and inclusion strategies within UK companies in order to achieve competitive advantage in a tight UK labour market. 
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RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND DESIGN

Research Method and Strategy

The basis of research is to collect and analyse information in order to get a better and proven understanding of an issue of concern (Arena et al., 2015). A research methodology is thus a useful approach employed in the collection and analysis of data. An effective research methodology must reflect a clear pathway of undertakings/ activities aimed at reaching an anticipated end where informed deductions and recommendations can be made from proven inferences. In keeping with the Saunders et al. (2009) “Research Onion,” this study will adopt the pathway indicated in the figure below.

Figure 1: Saunders’s “Research Onion” (Saunders et al., 2009)

Philosophy

The study will adopt the interpretivism philosophy while investigating the concepts associated with the subject of this research. The interpretive paradigm outlines the meanings people subscribe to or identify within their social world (Taylor & Medina, 2013).

Research Method and Data Collection Strategy

The study will employ quantitative, qualitative, and archival research as the choice approach to collecting data. This is known as a mixed research approach where more than one research approach is employed to grant the research a wider scope and perspectives (Bentahar & Cameron, 2015). Data will be collected quantitatively and qualitatively as well as the incorporation of archival research as part of this study. For quantitative data collection, questionnaires will be employed to gather data on the campus from HR managers, CIPD students, NHS, Tesco, Tan salons, the Police force, and other public and private organisations around the Swansea and Wales regions. Qualitative data will also be gathered through interviews with select representatives from these organizations. Archival research involves the gathering of information from published materials of past research in the form of journals, books, periodicals, conference proceedings, reports, and websites (Alex, 2002).  This approach has the advantage of accessing a large volume of related literature, as well as minimal use of time and resources (Tariq & Woodman, 2013). 

Data Analysis

The basis of data analysis will be to present the findings of the study in a more relevant and comprehensible manner (Andrews, et al., 2012). Data from the survey will be analysed using the current version of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 24.0 while qualitative data will be analysed through narrative analysis. On the other hand, the findings of the dissertation will be presented through a thematic analysis approach. The thematic analysis approach presents data in terms of the commonality of themes  (Jacob & William, 2006). 

Methodological Limitations

Firstly carrying out primary research for instance through surveys and interviews are always hectic compared to secondary research since they involve the assembling of research participants which takes time and is also costly (Wright, 2005). One of the possible limitations associated with archival research is the fact that every research is done under a unique circumstantial context. Therefore, a researcher referring to information from such publications may not fully understand the context in which such a study was carried out. This form of research also requires that the researcher possess excellent information literacy skills in order to be able to avoid the use of unauthentic data sources (Peters, 2013).

Reliability and Validity

Validity is a measure of the truthfulness and generalizability of the research with regards to the data collected in measuring the variables that informed the investigation (Deniz & Alsaffar, 2013). Reliability, on the other hand, refers to the occurrence of consistency in the data collected in the process of the research (Deniz & Alsaffar, 2013). Therefore, the researcher will put in place measures that will ensure that the data collected is consistent.

Ethical Considerations

The benefits of incorporating ethics in research are that it solidifies the reliability, validity, and acceptability of that research. It is, therefore, a necessary component of any research (Resnik, 2011). In dealing with potential participants for the survey, the possible respondents will be informed of the intents and objectives of the research and thus be able to give informed consent to participate. Secondly, the participants will be guaranteed of their confidentiality and privacy as well as non-divulging of their sensitive details. Considering that this study will adopt archival research, the fundamental ethical considerations that will be employed in this study will include acknowledgement of all literature used through proper in-text citation as well as a presentation of all sources used in a bibliography. Multiple sources will also be referred as a measure of avoiding a narrowed point of view as well as biased inferences. 

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RESOURCES AND PLANNING

Resources

As an archival research-based study, this paper will employ the use of published peer-reviewed as well as authentic literature to inform the findings of the study. Data will be collected from online published in journals, books, periodicals, conference proceedings, reports, and websites

Research Timelines (Gantt chart)

The specific activities that will contribute towards the realisation of the dissertation will be presented systematically in a more elaborate step by step approach guided by defined timelines. The proposed tasks are as outlined in the Gantt chart presented below.

Task Description Timelines
Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May
Literature search
Literature review
Proposal development
Submission of proposal 
Review draft with the professor
Submission of ethics form
Data collection 
Review draft with the professor
Data analysis and presentation of findings
Review first complete dissertation draft with the professor
Revision of the first complete dissertation draft reviewed by the professor
Proof-reading and submission of the final dissertation

 

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