Employers need to bridge New Zealand’s diversity divide

New research reveals that only one in two employees believe New Zealand businesses have a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

While diversity and inclusion are firmly on the agenda for New Zealand workplaces, the 2018 Randstad Employer Brand Research reveals that less than one in two employees (46 percent) believe that New Zealand businesses have successfully developed a diverse and inclusive culture. The research also revealed a significant gap or ‘diversity divide’ between what employees and employers consider a diverse and inclusive work environment.

A media release from Randstad says that less than one fifth (17 percent) of New Zealanders see diversity and inclusion as an important factor when choosing an employer. However, it was a different story once they were employed by a company. More than half of NZ workers (53 percent) stated that employers needed to provide clearer channels for communication and feedback in relation to addressing diversity and inclusion issues.

This apparent diversity divide suggests that issues related to diversity and inclusion are only important to employees once they have joined a company, reiterating the importance of getting it right during the recruitment process.

Katherine Swan, country director, Randstad New Zealand says that right now there is a significant gap. “If we’re to bridge this diversity divide, then more action is needed.  Employers need to improve how they communicate their specific policies on issues like work-life balance and mental health to candidates during the recruitment process. Employees also need to get better at doing their own homework, asking the tough questions upfront to ensure cultural alignment and avoid any surprises down the track.”

This was further evidenced in the research which found that that 96 percent of respondents agreed that alignment of personal values with company culture is a key factor in achieving workplace satisfaction. 

“New Zealanders need to feel respected in the workplace, regardless of gender or ethnicity. Across the world we are seeing people speaking out against issues like workplace inequality to effect change.

“Improving workplace policies and communication to ensure greater transparency and understanding of what’s acceptable and what’s not OK will help ensure genuine progress is made.”

Randstad’s Employer Brand research reinforces a recent NZ Diversity Survey where work-life balance was identified as an issue by 66 per cent of respondents. In the same study stress was a challenge in 62 per cent of organisations surveyed, and 50 per cent of respondents noted concerns about the mental health of staff or colleagues.

The first wave of Randstad research findings also revealed:

  • Close to two thirds (62 percent) of New Zealanders feel the greatest sense of inclusion when an employer offers flexible work options, regardless of circumstance.
  • More than one third (34 percent) of employees said work-life balance (or lack of) was one of the top five reasons to leave their current role.  
  • Women seek out companies offering a good work-life balance when choosing their new employer and women are more likely to leave an employer due to a lack of flexible work options. 
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