Employers tap into a reliable talent pipeline for a more diverse workforce

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By Erin Eagan

 

WCTC_diversity.jpg

WCTC student

Courtesy of WCTC

In the last 50 years, our demographics have shifted, and HR departments are being asked to increase workplace diversity to keep pace. While over half of the organizations surveyed by SHRM have a plan in place (57% of recruiters say their talent acquisition strategies are designed to attract diverse candidates), that leaves 43% who do not.

Diversity comes in a variety of forms. With such a vast melting pot of race, age, gender and religion, does your workplace reflect this changing world? If not, here a few areas worth keeping an eye on:

  • Race — Racial demographics have shifted toward a greater proportion of people of color, a trend that is expected to continue. As stated in the Wisconsin Technical College System-Wide Equity Report, in the next 10 years, Wisconsin’s white population is projected to be stable or decrease while all other racial-ethnic groups increase steadily. By 2055, the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority.
  • Age — Wisconsin’s population is aging. With that comes the retirement of baby boomers, leaving many companies with a skills shortage. Conversely, more than one-in-three American labor force participants (35%) are millennials (born 1981-1996), making them the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
  • Gender — The labor force participation rate for American women has risen steadily since the 1960s. Women are expected to continue to gain share, rising from 46.8% of the workforce in 2014 to 47.2% in 2024 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Religion — The religious landscape is undergoing a drastic transformation. The percentage of Americans identifying as Christian dropped from 78% in 2007 to 71% in 2014 (Pew Research Center). By contrast, the religiously unaffiliated population in that time span rose seven percentage points to make up 23% of U.S. adults. Non-Christian faiths (Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc.) are slowly on the rise and now comprise 6%.

A reliable, diverse talent pipeline
Wisconsin’s technical colleges recognize the importance of these growing groups, as they will be the engine that drives our state’s economic growth. The 16 colleges are all-inclusive, providing open-access educational opportunities for all with the necessary resources and services that help strengthen a culture of diversity and inclusion.

One way your organization can build a reliable, more diverse talent pipeline is by reaching out to the technical colleges that are shaping the next generation of the workforce in all sectors. Whether you hire their graduates, set up an internship program or foster talent early on through mentoring, you’ll be tapping into a microcosm of today’s world and keeping pace with its ever-changing demographics. It’s a small step to take that will make a big difference.

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