Barbara H. Whye is the chief diversity and inclusion officer and corporate vice president of social impact and human resources at Intel Corporation

Is your workplace attractive to Generation Z?

Barbara Whye, chief diversity & inclusion officer and VP of social impact and human resources, Intel discusses the results of a study undertaken by Intel investigating how to attract Generation Z  into your workforce through diversity and inclusion if companies want to stay ahead of the curve.

Generation Z – those born between 1995 and 2010 – will make up over 1 billion people in the global workforce by 2030[1]. This is a group categorised by disruption and digital savviness but, also, by purpose and altruism. To attract Gen Z employees, organisations need to understand this demographic’s motivations and perspectives on critical workplace issues – particularly in relation to diversity and inclusion.

To help businesses understand the next generation of employees and leaders, Intel recently launched a UK-based study assessing Gen Z’s expectations around diversity, their experiences of bias and how these will contribute to shaping their future career paths. The findings were clear. For Generation Z, diversity and inclusion is the deciding factor.

What Gen Z expects from the workplace
From social equity to climate change, this is a generation that is determined to make a difference. When it comes to work, Intel’s research found that a majority of Gen Zs in the UK would be hesitant to take a job from a company that does not have diverse representation in senior leadership roles. Moreover, in choosing between competing job offers, a company’s stance on diversity and inclusivity is almost as important as the pay offered.

Many of the respondents agreed that more inclusive organisations have a better base of experiences, a stronger sense of belonging, and a greater competitive advantage. It is increasingly important for employees to work somewhere that welcomes people of different backgrounds, provides equal opportunities for underrepresented minorities and people with disabilities, and is LGBTQ+ friendly.

Embracing change now and for the future
Gen Z’s expectations foreshadow long-needed change across businesses globally– particularly in the technology industry, where diversity and inclusion are essential to innovation to solve the world’s greatest challenges. The findings are indicative of a wider opportunity for business leaders in the UK and around the world to make lasting, positive change in their organizations, so that they become a more attractive place to work for the next generation of employees.

Below are three principles companies across the technology ecosystem should consider for improving diversity and inclusion within their business:

Leadership matters: It’s important for companies to increase diversity in senior leadership roles and ensure that inclusive leadership practices are embedded into their culture. It is not enough to have representation in a company if representation does not exist in leadership and key roles up to and including the board of directors. Leaders control and progress employees, and systematically set the company direction.

Nurture altruism: Technology companies are shaping the world we live in. While enriching lives is a wonderful outcome of tech innovation, we also have a responsibility to bridge the digital divide and address the gap in access to STEM education. Accessibility and inclusivity apply to digital marginalisation. Intel is committed to advancing inclusion and accessibility to tech skills and resources for millions of underserved people in our communities. In fact, we recently committed to making technology fully inclusive and expand digital readiness in our 2030 Corporate Social Responsibility goals and global challenges by partnering with governments and communities to address the digital divide and expand access to technology skills needed for current and future jobs. Intel is also working with other companies to accelerate adoption of inclusive business practices across industries by creating and implementing a Global Inclusion Index open standard. We encourage organizations to similarly look at how they can better society as a whole through their business.

Foster inclusive practices: Training and leadership programs specifically designed to grow inclusivity can go a long way in shaping an organization’s culture. At Intel, our Inclusive Leaders program helps executives foster leadership skills needed to build diverse and inclusive, high performing teams. It’s also important to address the hiring process—human resource teams and executives must take part in unconscious bias training. It’s also important to develop a set of best practices to mitigate the influence of unconscious bias in the hiring process. These practices include posting formal requisitions using impartial descriptions of qualifications for all open jobs and having diverse slates of candidates and diverse hiring panels.

Diversity and inclusion have become essential workplace priorities – not just due to demand, but due to the benefits diversity brings. Diversity and inclusion are instrumental in driving innovation and delivering stronger business results. But, this is not a one-and-done field; it’s a journey and we have more work to do than ever. We must approach this work as we do our tech innovations: learn, fail fast, iterate often and continue stretching ourselves to achieve greater results. It’s critical, now more than ever, to create and foster an inclusive workplace and give employees confidence that they will not be left behind.

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