Diversity in the workplace
Before we started this article, we thought we would only write about the lack of multicultural diversity in the workplace in the Netherlands. But diversity can be found in many areas. Unfortunately, there is still too much discrimination on all possible levels and 'apparent' opposites: young/old, male/female, hetero/LGBTQI+, autochthonous/immigrant. So this is not a one-size-fits-all issue.
All these subjects are close to our hearts. My mother, who despite a wonderful CV still had a lot of trouble getting into the labour market among the youngsters. I myself (Ratna), as a woman and as an immigrant, notice that unfortunately I often see the clichés pass by. Like my transgender aunt, who is fearless and had to fight incredibly hard just to be herself.
Fortunately, the government is in favour of more cultural diversity in the workplace and that is something that most organisations say they are striving for these days. In practice, however, they barely realise this intention, CHRO pointed out at the beginning of last year (2019).
Research shows that a diverse team leads to more turnover because it is a better reflection of society. As a company, you then have more common ground with your customers. But why are companies generally not diverse enough?
"Despite all the attention HR directors currently pay to the theme of diversity & inclusion, in practice they do not feel the urgency. Forming and implementing inclusivity policies remains stuck around 20th place in the annual HR Trend Survey by Berenschot and Performa."
There is, as you can read, quite a contradiction in this. Attention is paid to this important subject, but it is absolutely not put into practice. This reminds us a bit of fashion chains that say sustainability is their number one priority, but in the meantime do nothing or very little with this subject, except inform us that it is 'extremely important'. Of course, it starts with awareness. But after that, they have to get on with it!
To be fair, you hire someone because of his or her qualities. And that is completely independent of skin colour, gender or orientation. Yet reality is harsh and disappointing: a quarter of all discrimination in the Netherlands takes place in the labour market. This is evident from the Discrimination Statistics 2019 report:
"The reporters at ADVs experience discrimination most often in the labour market (1,140 reports), both in job applications and on the shop floor."
That Mark is more likely to get a job than Mohammed is not news to sociologist Gregor Walz. He refers to the Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP) that in 2010 conducted a field experiment with fictitious CVs. It is a pity that we are now 10 years further on and it still happens on a large scale.
Integration is key, personal perspective
My parents emigrated from Suriname to the Netherlands in the late 1970s. Those were difficult times for people of colour. When I hear the stories of my parents, you can get pretty angry (and in the year 2020, we have made some progress, but not enough). My parents consciously raised us to fit into a modern Western culture. However, the well-known Surinamese strictness did prevail. For example, only Dutch was spoken at home, so I don't speak a word of Javanese or Surinamese. Being rude and ill-mannered is really not done, and going against your parents, *pooh*, that didn't even occur to me. Roue Verveer can tell you like no other what a Surinamese upbringing is like:
Gen Z is the future
We are proud that our team is a reflection of society. As founders, we represent diversity and so does the whole Fraenck team. Because with us, it is not just an "urgent item" on our agenda, it is how we work - everyone is welcome to work on their development.
The terrible death of George Floyd has sparked calls for equality and, above all, equality of opportunity. This event has caused a lot of people to stand up for equality. And that more and more people are becoming aware of the great challenge we all face. Both young and old are now coming together and we see that many young people are voicing their discontent. And rightly so, because they are the future. For many of them, equality is something they take for granted and they can ensure that real change gets off the ground.
Even if it takes a long time, we believe that change will come. Left or right. Or as Jane Elliot puts it below: "We hate because we're taught to hate". It is not congenital, but learned. It is important to unlearn it as soon as possible.