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C Z E C H R E P U B L I C – I T A L Y – P O L A N D - T U R K E Y
Euro-kid Celebrates Cultural Diversity
Theory and Practice
TRANSVERSAL COMPETENCES: TODAY’S SOLUTIONS FOR TOMORROW’S JOBS
THE DEFINITION OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY
Cultural diversity is the quality of different cultures, as opposed to globalization. This
phrase can also refer different cultures respecting each other's differences. It can also
mean the variety of human societies or cultures in a specific region, or in the world as a
whole. Globalization is often said to have a negative effect on the world's cultural
diversity because all the cultures are being mixed and become homogeneous (Wikipedia,
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted the
Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity at its thirty-first session on November 2nd,
2001. The article 1 titled "Cultural diversity, the common heritage of humanity" states
that "As a source of exchange, innovation and creativity, cultural diversity is as
necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for the nature. In this sense, it is the common
heritage of humanity and should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present
and future generations" (UNESCO, 2002).
THE ROLE OF CULTURE IN SHAPING IDENTITY
Culture is one of the social factors shaping the identity of a human. It is the combination
of values, beliefs, and practices of a particular group. It was believed that culture limits
the world and understanding of the person due to the restrictive impact of one’s norms.
Because of this buffering action, culture was thought to halt the evolution of human race.
Many scientists are now seeing the role of culture in a quite different light.
The notion of identity becomes broader once it is associated with one’s tribe, race,
ethnicity, nationality, or country. Cultural identity is based on differences and shaped by
relations to social norms. However the society is no longer based on hostile “us” vs.
“them” division but rather on mutual respect and learning to live with ambiguity. The
attitude of disrespect is the foundation of hatred, racism and social and cultural
exclusions therefore defining ourselves although based on strong feeling of affiliation to
one’s culture has to be done with compliance with other people’s cultural identities.
Different cultures shape one’s identity in a different way. Individualistic and
collectivistic cultures tend to emphasize different views of the self. In individualistic
cultures the personal achievements and definition of self are valued whereas in
collectivistic cultures the happiness of the individual is rooted in defying oneself in
relation to others and the individual is viewed as part of a larger group. It affects both
emotional and psychological well-being of individual. As the identity is different for each
person it is unique due to (among others) cultural influences. Culture shapes who we
are, how we dress, what we eat, say, believe and how we react to different stimuli.
However to become a citizen of the world, an international person, we have to become
aware of ambiguities that exist within cultures and learn to respect and cherish those.
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES ON THE JOB MARKET
The idea of the world now being a place for exchanging and mixing of cultures is not new
to anyone. In fact, most of us are facilitating that processes by travelling, using the
Internet and communicating with other nationalities. Not surprisingly then, almost all
aspects of modern life are inevitably affected by the multinational character of the
nations. Among those is present job market. With variety of backgrounds that people
origin from comes a range of different ideas. A smart employer would thus strive to
introduce diversity into their company. However, it always has to be noted that to
unleash the potential of diversity, it has to be managed with acknowledgment
of differences and conflicts that may arise. Let’s look deeper into what cultural diversity
may cause on the job market.
First of all it is worth noting that diversity means non-uniformity. And non-uniformity is
innovation. So what better way to provide broader perspectives in the companies than
to employ workers that were born into different cultures? The key is to keep in mind
that the way humans are in the adulthood roots in their childhood, their family, their
neighborhood, schools, traditions and religion or in one word – culture. The range of
experience that people have when they join the job market is huge. That promotes out of
the box thinking and creativity. People from different cultures look into problems from
different angles, have other skills and strengths and most importantly they might not be
restricted by the borders of culture that we are restricted by. Next there is the
company’s multilingualism advantages. With people able to speak different languages
come contacts all over the world and new opportunities for international development.
The benefits are not only for the employer but also the employees. Being exposed to
other cultures causes personal development. Working with other nations challenges
one’s system beliefs and social norms. People learn to be more open-minded, fight the
common stereotypes and might also enhance their emotional intelligence. That
improves the understanding of other individuals and helps with working in groups and
tolerance. Additionally, working in a cultural mix can make one more communicative,
and encourage to explore the new cultures on their own to embrace the diversity
However, as I mentioned before, having multiple cultures in the workplace poses some
risks and it is crucial to treat the diverse community with care, patience, respect and
understanding. First of all, even though the job market is already globalized, cultural
diversity in the companies can sometimes be artificially forced. That may cause the
nonminority groups to feel excluded and not interesting enough to be successful. It is
therefore important to maintain a balance between promoting diversity and inhibiting
it. Also, even though the desirable differences can improve the quality and innovation at
work, they can also be overwhelming for some. For example many cultures tend to be
more self-expressive and this can be intimidating for those who are more introverted
and were never before exposed to such strong personalities that are normal in other
cultures. What’s more, when there are too many differences, people may have no things
in common and that may cause multiple misunderstandings and as a result being
So how does cultural diversity at job market look nowadays? What first comes to my
mind is the European Union’s policy which known to be promoting cultural diversity on
the job market. In the countries included in the Schengen area such as Czech Republic,
Italy or Poland it is now really easy to cooperate internationally. This significantly helps
to decrease the level of discrimination of the minorities within the EU. Also cultural
discrimination in many countries outside the EU is becoming less strong. The process of
conquering the stereotypes and prejudice is slow but it is proceeding. In the countries
where religion may seem to be an obstacle, the discrimination decrease as well. A good
example would be Turkey, that despite being a mostly Muslim country,
it welcomes followers of other religions that are attracted by Turkey’s convenient
location between Europe and Asia and other opportunities this country provides.
To sum up it is possible to cooperate in the multicultural workplace and with a dose of
tolerance and respect it might be an amazing chance to greater development and
experience (White, 2011, Laquihon, 2007; Feigenbaum, n.d., Ingram, n.d.,
CZECH JOB MARKET
In the Czech Republic, the average person earns 16 614 USD a year, less than the
OECD average of 22 387 USD a year.
65% of people aged 15 to 64 in the Czech Republic have a paid job, slightly below
the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 74% of men are in paid work,
compared with 56% of women.
People in the Czech Republic work 1 947 hours a year, more than the OECD
average of 1 776 hours.
Some 9% of employees work very long hours, in line with the OECD average, with
13% of men working very long hours compared with just 4% for women
Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In the Czech
Republic, 91% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school
degree, well above the OECD average of 74% and among the highest rates in the
In terms of education quality, the average student scored 490 in reading literacy,
math and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment
(PISA). This score is lower than the OECD average of 497. On average in the Czech
Republic, girls outperformed boys by 16 points, a far wider gender gap than the
OECD average of 9 points (OECD, 2013).
ITALIAN JOB MARKET
In Italy's economy: traditional north-south divide (unemployement in particular
in the south). Multinational companies are mainly located in the north
Problems now: unemployement, weak consumption growth, crisis of small-
Significant contribution to the growth of the country now is the number of
Requirements for assuming a job in İtaly vary from EU and Non EU citizens. A EU
citizen is automatically allowed a work permit. As regards Non EU citizens they
need visas, residence and work permits and insurances
It is harder to find a job when over 40 years old
In Italy, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is 24 216 USD a
year, more than the OECD average.
57% of people aged 15 to 64 in Italy have a paid job. Some 67% of men are in
paid work, compared with 47% of women.
People in Italy work 1 774 hours a year, close to the OECD average of 1 776
hours. Almost 4% of employees work very long hours, with 6% of men working
very long hours compared with just 2% for women.
55% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree,
below the OECD average of 74%.
In terms of the quality of the education system, the average student scored 486 in
reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International
Student Assessment (PISA), lower than the OECD average of 497. On average in
Italy, girls outperformed boys by 11 points (OECD, 2013).
POLISH JOB MARKET
• Average working hours: Working hours should not exceed eight hours per day, or
an average of 40 hours per five-day working week. Official working hours are
from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, however many international companies that
employ foreign staff work 9am to 5pm. People in Poland work 1 937 hours a year.
• Holidays: Employees who have worked for a year or more are entitled to at least
20 days paid annual leave.
• Average graduate starting salary: The graduate starting salary is PLN 33,360
(about £7,000). The average household net-adjusted disposable income is 15 371
USD a year, much less than the OECD average.
• Working practices and customs: Punctuality is vital for establishing your
reliability. In most Polish companies (excluding banks and consulting firms),
executives wear casual and conservative clothes. If you work in an international
company, you will need to wear a business suit.
• 60% of people aged 15 to 64 in Poland have a paid job
• 89% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree
• the average student scored 501 in reading literacy, maths and science in the
OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), higher than the
OECD average of 497. On average in Poland, girls outperformed boys by 18
points, higher than the average OECD gap of 9 points (OECD, 2013).
TURKISH JOB MARKET
In Turkey, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is lower than
the OECD average.
48% of people aged 15 to 64 in Turkey have a paid job
People in Turkey work 1 877 hours a year, more than the OECD average, around
46% of employees work very long hours, much higher than the OECD average
31% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree,
much lower than the OECD average of 74%
the average student scored 455 in reading literacy, maths and science in the
OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), lower than the
OECD average of 497. On average in Turkey, girls outperformed boys by 15
points (OECD, 2013)
Feigenbaum, E. (n.d.) About Cultural Diversity in the Workplace. Retrived on April 11th,
2013 from: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/cultural-diversity-workplace-
Ingram, D. (n.d.) Promotion & Awareness of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace.
Retrived on April 11th, 2013 from: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/promotion-
Laquihon, R. (2007). Diversity in the Workplace - Enhancing an Organization's Success.
Retrived on April 11th, 2013 from: http://www.articlesbase.com/management-
OECD (2013). Better Life Index. Retrived on April 11th, 2013 from:
Transcity (n.d.) Job marketing and managing cultural diversity. Retrived on April 11th,
2013 from: http://www.transcity.com/services/product-development/
UNESCO (2002). Universal Declaration of Cultural Diversity. Retrived on April 11th, 2013
White, A. (2011). Making the most of your diversity in the job market. Retrived on April
11th, 2013 from: http://careers.guardian.co.uk/diversity-job-market
Wikipedia (2013). Cultural Diversity. Retrived on April 11th, 2013 from: