3 reasons to work for a diverse and inclusive company

6 min read | Maureen Lynch | Article | Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | Job searching

Employees interact in workplace

Do you have set criteria when searching for a new role? A competitive salary? A flexible schedule? Or perhaps an attractive benefits package? Makes sense. But there’s another consideration that can shape both your professional fulfilment and career prospects: how much an organisation embraces diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).

But what does genuine DE&I actually look like in the workplace? And why should you make the effort to evaluate an employer’s DE&I offering?


What does a diverse and inclusive workplace look like?

A diverse workplace will have different backgrounds, identities, and perspectives. This could include protected characteristics such as gender, race, age, and disability or sexual orientation, but also personality, education and life experiences.

But not all workplaces are equally diverse and inclusive. Our DE&I report found that over a third (37%) of employees hide part of who they are at work, while nearly half (46%) feel their career has been limited by their identity (such as gender, race, age, or disability).

While progress has been made in the DE&I space, it’s clear that many organisations are lagging behind. Finding those leading the way could offer some surprising career benefits.


Why work for a diverse and inclusive employer?

Working for an employer that values DE&I is not only an ethical choice, but a positive for your professional development. By choosing a company that supports DE&I, you could boost your career opportunities, enhance your core skills, and feel more connected to your work. Here’s why:


1. You’ll be part of a productive and innovative workplace

If you want to work for a company that leads the way, or a start-up looking to shake things up, there’s a good chance they take DE&I to heart. The reason? DE&I and innovation are closely linked, with research suggesting that diverse teams outperform those less widely represented.

By bringing different perspectives and ideas to the table, diverse teams are better suited to connect with customers and stakeholders from all over the world, delivering more innovative products and services. Naturally, this kind of open-minded and high-performing environment will provide more headroom for your career growth. And by working in a diverse team, you may develop some new and varied skills along the way – not least your transferable core skills.


2. You’ll cultivate your in-demand core skills

Core skills, also referred to as soft skills, are becoming increasingly valued by employers for their resilience and adaptability in a rapidly changing world of work where technical skills fluctuate in relevance. Traits like communication and emotional intelligence are applicable across almost all industries, potentially increasing your employability and readiness for the future. But how exactly does DE&I help develop these in-demand competencies?

Diverse and inclusive workplaces are an ideal platform to polish your core skills, which often influence how you interact with others. By working alongside people who have different ways of thinking and methods of solving problems, you’re more likely to broaden your mindset and actively engage your repertoire of core skills. And if you want to be a manager, or move up to become one, leading diverse teams will help you develop into a more rounded leader who’s astute to a greater variety of personal needs and values.


3. You’ll feel that you belong and make a difference

No one should feel like they don’t belong or must hide who they are – whether that be yourself or a co-worker. Research by Gartner suggests that feeling like an outsider at work can make you withdraw your unique aspects – a hurtful and negative experience that “lowers your focus and performance”.

Adapting to the changing world of work is important, but shouldn’t be at the expense of your identity. Progressive organisations know this, and actively seek to make inclusion part of their culture. You can often sense if an employer values your input and diversity during an application process. Watch out for any biased language, narrow wording, or talk of being a ‘cultural fit’ when you apply for a job; these may be signs that an employer’s DE&I credentials are lacking.


Don’t discount DE&I in your job search

Whether it’s working for a company that’s geared for the future, tuning your core skills, or finding a sense of belonging, an employer’s approach to DE&I could have a massive influence on your professional life. And by choosing an organisation at the forefront of diverse and inclusive workplace cultures, you’ll be making a clear statement to industries at large that people are always at the heart of a successful business.


Explore more career advice or discover our latest job opportunities


About this author

Maureen Lynch, Director of Hays Ireland

Maureen Lynch is the operations director for Ireland. Having joined Hays in 2000, Maureen has extensive experience partnering with organisations, in areas including accountancy and finance, technology, procurement, HR, and life sciences, to find the best talent from unparalleled talent networks. She also provides professionals with personalised services to ensure they are able to achieve their career goals.

Contact Maureen today to find out more about how she can provide expert career advice and workforce solutions to match your interests, aspirations, and needs. 

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