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Working in diverse teams
Working in diverse teams

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3 Factors leading to increased workplace diversity

On the whole, we live in a much more diverse world and this is reflected both in our communities and our workplaces. This increase in diversity is not due to one factor. There are several factors that have led to increased diversity in today’s workplace. These include:

  • the rising number of women in the workplace due to the contraction of male-dominated industries and the growth of gender-neutral service industries, along with the erosion of traditional gender roles.

  • global dispersion of teams has been facilitated by technology. Teams do not have to be in one place any more, which leads to increases in cultural diversity. Growth in and reliance on new technologies allows more flexible working and a more global marketplace.

  • greater shifts in the world’s population mean localised teams tend to be more diverse. The last 40 years have seen a greater number of migrants working in the UK and the number of non-native citizens in England and Wales has risen from 4.6 million in 2001 to 7.5 million in 2017 (an increase of over 61%). What this means for the UK workplace is more languages, a greater variety of educational backgrounds, differing cultures and expectations.

  • increase in mobility with workers now commuting further than would have been possible 40 years ago. See this article from 2014 by Nick Collins, Transport Correspondent in the Telegraph: Workers commuting further than ever before [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

  • an ageing population in high-income countries means that several generations now work together (Figure 2). People are now working for longer as their health is better for longer and they are living for longer. The abolition of the default retirement age in the UK in 2011 led to people working for longer in part to protect their financial security and as a way to maintain their social connections. The employment rate for people aged 65 and over has doubled over the past 30 years, from 4.9 to 10.2 per cent, an increase of 5.3 percentage points (DWP, 2015).

An image of an office space showing workers working together.
Figure 2 Multiple generations in the same workplace

Next you will consider the importance of diversity and the benefits it brings to the workplace.