Value of Diversity at the Workplace Presentation by Tina Tinde at career forum in Toulouse, France, Nov 10, 2012

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How does an understanding of diversity issues boost your career? Examples are given of how insight into demographic trends and behavior variations helps to make wise decisions and be in sync with the …

How does an understanding of diversity issues boost your career? Examples are given of how insight into demographic trends and behavior variations helps to make wise decisions and be in sync with the time.

A statistician, Nate Silver was able to predict the outcome of the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections based on knowledge of, among others, demographic figures and trends.

For someone to succeed with their career and for a business or organization to be competitive, knowledge about diversity and demographic changes is important. A study referred to in the presentation found young people to be more concerned with diversity and inclusion topics than their seniors. Employers wishing to attract the best talent are wise to embrace diversity & inclusion and place value on the contributions from women and other underrepresented groups that include e.g. LGBT people, persons living with disabilities, indigenous peoples, various ethnic and racial groups, older people, and those living with HIV/AIDS.

The website with vacancy announcements is often the most visited page, and searches for “diversity” and “gender equality” are very frequent. An employer that wishes to leverage the interest in available jobs on the website and at the same time present itself as an attractive organization, can benefit from announcing its diversity & inclusion activities on the web.

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  • Silver, the computer expertwho gave Obama a 90 percentchanceofwinning re-election, predictedon his blog, FiveThirtyEight (for the number of seats in the Electoral College), that the president would receive 51 percent of the popular vote as he called each of the 50 states, including all nine battlegrounds.
  • Silver, the computer expertwho gave Obama a 90 percentchanceofwinning re-election, predictedon his blog, FiveThirtyEight (for the number of seats in the Electoral College), that the president would receive 51 percent of the popular vote as he called each of the 50 states, including all nine battlegrounds.


  • 1. CROSSING THE RUBICON Why understanding diversity boosts your careerAssociation of Norwegian Students Abroad (ANSA) Career Forum, Toulouse, France, November 10, 2012 Gry Tina Tinde, communication/diversity advisor, E-mail
  • 2. Crossing the Rubicon - Alea iacta est  General Caesars crossing of the Rubicon in 49 BC to reach Rome led to civil war, which Caesar won  After Caesar’s murder in 44 BC his adoptive son Augustus ruled the Roman Empire  Crossing the Rubicon, like throwing the dice, means that the point of Rubicon is a river in Italy that General Julius Caesar no return has been reachedcrossed in defiance of the Senate in Rome, and declared that ”the die has been cast”
  • 3. Agnar Mykles "Rubicon"  Norwegian author Agnar Mykle, 1915 – 1994 released his last novel ”Rubicon” i 1965. Like several of his other books it was translated into English  “Rubicon” is not as reputable as ”The Song of the Red Ruby”, which was banned for indecency, and ”Lasso Around the Moon”. Both show the author’s mastery of irony and humor  Valemon Gristvåg’s motorbike ride through Europe in 1939 is an undetected gem of a literary road movie  It’s a hilarious portrait of a student heading for a momentous time in Europe’s history, laced with cheeky descriptions of people from Sunnmøre on Norway’s west coast  The expression ”Crossing the Rubicon” is being applied to the 2012 US presidential election
  • 4. Demography is the new Rubicon  ”Non-whites” made up 28% of all voters in the US presidential election, up from 26% in 2008  Barack Obama’s support from ”non-whites” was critical in swing states such as Ohio and Florida. In Ohio blacks made up 15% of voters, compared to 11% in 2008. In Florida Latinos made up 17% of voters, up from 14% in 2008  Nearly ¼ of voters were single women. Obama received 67% of their votes, which had a strong impact on the outcome
  • 5. Race affects voting behavior  While minority compositional gains were not huge, they offset a strong tilt against Obama among white voters. Nationally, Mitt Romney won the white vote, with 59% to 39%, but he lost the election  93% of blacks and 71% of Latinos voted for Obama in 2012  In 2011 white newborns were no longer in majority  In 2050 whites will make up 46% of the US population, according to an analysis based on the 2010 census
  • 6. Disability is no longer taboo Employers, governments and international organizations are beginning to understand that persons living with a disability are a resource, not a burden Artists and individuals are pushing the envelope, as illustrated by the French movie The Untouchables, which is a major hit with audiences globally Barriers in areas of race, disability, religion and issues concerning lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) are often broken down for men first
  • 7. Increased LGBT acceptance (manyexceptions, esp. in developing countries)  The 2012 US presidential election was a success for LGBT voters  Tammy Baldwin, Democratic candidate from Wisconsin, became the first openly gay among the 100 Senators  The Senate now has the ”record” number of 20 women, up from 17. Four are Republicans  In Maine and Maryland a majority of votes brought the number of states legalizing same-sex marriage to nine
  • 8. Knowledge is powerNate Silver Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in ”Moneyball"  Math whiz and baseball fan Nate Silver was primarily known for predicting results of imaginary baseball games  Based on e.g. demographic trends the popular New York Times blogger predicted the outcome of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections
  • 9. Winners are in tune with changes in the population”America’s face changed and only one party changed with it” Peter Beinart quoted in WashingtonPostUnderstanding diversity and demographic trends helps us make wise decisions and potentially benamed winners. Obama leads a country of 315 million inhabitants. Wil Wheaton announced NateSilvers ”victory” to 2,1 mill Twitter-followers, after Rachel Maddow declared Silver a winner tosome 2 mill people watching her prime-time TV show.
  • 10. Major generational and geographical gapsin PR profession  A study released by the University of Alabama in November 2012 was carried out in 23 countries in Asia, Latin-America, Europe + in the US  A total of 4,484 PR managers were asked which major challenges the industry faced  Major differences were found between generations, sexes and cultural/national origins  Two thirds ranked the impact of digital networks and massively available real-time information as the fundamental forces transforming the practice of contemporary public relations.
  • 11. Increased access to information is majorissue Respondents identified the four most important topics: 1. Managing the volume and velocity of information (23 %) 2. Role of social media (15.3 %) 3. Improving measurement (12.2 %) 4. Dealing with fast-moving crises China, Brazil, India and Mexico ranked (11.9 %) digital information the highest
  • 12. Large geographical divides in PR industry  In seven years China is expected to have the world’s largest economy  Young and more junior managers ranked social responsibility, transparency and diversity higher than older managers  Around 70% of people in the PR industry are women; and they made up 51,3% of survey respondents
  • 13. Africa on its way up  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that seven of the world’s fastest growing economies in the next 3-4 years will be African countries:  Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo, Ghana, Zambia and Nigeria are expected to have an annual growth of six % in this period  In the next 40 years Africa’s population is expected to double, from one billion to two  Africans’ average age is now 20 years, half of Europe’s, which is also struggling with low economic growth
  • 14. Africa on its way up Libya  Average GDP growth of about five % annually during the last 10 years  While markets have collapsed Etiopia Ghana elsewhere, Africa’s income is Rwanda expected to grow by approximately 4,5% in 2012 Mosambik  According to IMF Africa will have the world’s fastest growing economy in the next five years
  • 15. Africa on its way up A report by the African Development Bank projects that by 2030 much of the continent will have a middle-class majority The report predicts that consumer spending in Africa will soar from $680bn in 2008 to $2.2trn in 2030 Africa trades much more with the emerging powers, including BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) than with for instance the UK Some Americans have gone to China to find a job. Will Europeans become economic migrants to Africa in our time?
  • 16. The BRIC countries  Women climb fast on the career ladder in BRIC countries because of their dynamic and innovative economies and the constant search for talents  The BRIC countries have far to go regarding women on company boards  In the UK public stock exchange companies are recommended to achieve 25% women on boards by 2015, while Norway tops the list with 40% due to legislation
  • 17. Men’s tight grip on top positions  These figures from 2012 show the proportion of women in executive and board positions in Fortune 500 companies  Women’s representation has stagnated despite research in many countries proving that increasing the number of women on boards improves the bottom line
  • 18. Principles benefiting women are good formen, work life and the bottom line  For women and other underrepresented groups to gain fair access to education, employment and management positions, the focus should be on talent, competencies and suitability  This approach benefits people and businesses and organizations. The best results are achieved when people are not selected based on local/global traditions, buddy networks or prejudice  Catalyst found that with the current speed, women will achieve 50% of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies in 2075, despite being in majority at American universities since the early 1980s
  • 19. Diversity & women lacking at Fortune 500top echelon  Only 3,6% of America’s 500 largest companies are headed by women  Only one is African-American  These 19 women share career advice on CNN’s website  Their advice appears tame with regard to gender equality issues and echo Norwegian business women’s careful statements some 20 years back, when it was still taboo in Norway’s private sector to discuss gender discrimination publicly
  • 20. Value of diversity policy is underestimated Erik Hansen in Progressive Global Energy to DN:  We’ve done well over the past 30 years but we haven’t understood what it takes to succeed in the next 30  Of all management positions filled in 2012 all were Norwegians, even though 22% of suggested candidates were foreigners  Norwegian companies are not being flexible. People 55 and older are rejectedDagens Næringsliv a finance newspaper, put  Norway will lag behind if we don’t draw onon its front page Nov 9, 2012 that Norwegian foreign talents and the experience of older peoplecompanies are racist. English recap
  • 21. Overcoming racism through interaction  A study presented in 2012 by The Institute of Labour and Social Research (FAFO) and The Institute for Social Research found that persons with foreign-sounding names had 25% less chance of being called to a job interview  Lidio Dominguez applied to many jobs in Norway over two years and got no interview. He changed his name to Nils Myrland and was suddenly invited to many interviews. He got a job and changed his name back  Nate Silver : Racism is predictable. It’s predicted by interaction or lack thereof with people unlike you, people of other races.”
  • 22. Rubicon has been crossedThe results are shared on social media