‘Tis the season of workplace vibrancy in New Zealand this week with two major summits promoting gender, age and racial diversity to boost creativity and improve the bottom line of forward thinking businesses. Both the Diversity Summit 2016 in Auckland, and Diversity in Action Summit in Wellington are promoting the idea that diverse workplaces are more creative, productive and profitable. According to Diversity in Action Summit’s website, “gender diversity is vital to any workplace. Not just because it’s a worthy goal; it simply makes bottom-line business sense”. Similarly, Diversity Summit 2016’s site boasts the opportunity to “meet the leaders of forward-thinking New Zealand businesses maximising the benefits of diversity platforms”. Both summits are backing up their claims with a recent study by McKinsey & Company called Why Diversity Matters, which claims that “latest research finds that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians”.
For the study, McKinsey & Company examined 366 public companies across a range of industries in Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In this research they looked at metrics such as financial results and the composition of top management and boards. While the study makes some lofty claims, the researchers include what seems to be a disclaimer, that “while correlation does not equal causation (greater gender and ethnic diversity in corporate leadership doesn’t automatically translate into more profit), the correlation does indicate [editor’s emphasis] that when companies commit themselves to diverse leadership, they are more successful. Logic dictates that diversity really means less white males, and an article published this week on scoop.co.nz about the Diversity in Action Summit included some passages that imply exactly that:
-In New Zealand, only 13 per cent of engineers are women. Only 6 per cent are Maori, and only 2 per cent Pasifika. About 13 per cent are Asian.
In other words, there are too many white men in engineering. This of course is despite the fact that they naturally gravitate towards this profession, the result of which is called Western Civilisation.
-We need to make sure we’re tapping the whole pool of people who could be engineers, not just those who look like the engineers of the past.
The white male engineers of the past to be exact, who built everything we rely upon today. There would not be a summit without them.
-research [about engineering in NZ] suggests there are a number of barriers to increasing diversity, including non-inclusive workplace cultures, a lack of challenging part-time or flexible work and gender pay gaps.
Non inclusive workplace cultures of racist white men to be precise. Never mind the fact that they are probably fathers who are working 50 hours plus per week to get the job completed within tight deadlines and profit margins, which would be completely blown if their positions were ‘part time or flexible’. Better dock their pay anyhow.
–all assessors that IPENZ employs in-house will receive unconscious bias training. “The purpose of unconscious bias training is to develop awareness of biases that you don’t even know you have. It’s about creating a level playing field for everyone.”
In other words they are going to make white men aware of their genetic racism. The presenters at Diversity Summit 2016 are an international line up, including leading keynote speaker Lisa Coleman, who is Cheif Diversity Officer & Special Assistant to the President of Harvard University. Her talk is called ‘Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Leadership”.