Everyone knows that discrimination is wrong, and yet workplace bias remains a prevalent yet subtle trend that has the potential to erode productivity and engagement in the workforce.
In an industry and a sector where finding and retaining skilled labor is paramount to success, electronics OEMs, distributors, and component makers need to work to ensure that discrimination doesn’t take a bite of their efforts.
The results of workplace discrimination are costly. More than one quarter (27%) of those who experience discrimination at work report the bias to be “common, impactful and beyond their ability to manage,” a new study by VitalSmarts, a leadership training company, found. The result is employees who are frustrated, stressed, depressed and feeling helplessness on the job.
In the high-tech sector and supply chain management function, organizations continue to struggle to ensure equal opportunities. Addressing discrimination deliberately can help—and even one person speaking up can make a difference. David Maxfield, vice president of research at VitalSmarts said:
Women and some minorities (African Americans and Hispanics) are underrepresented at all levels within the Tech Sector. Many tech firms are working very hard to correct this underrepresentation. Facebook, Google, Cisco, and others are supporting long-term efforts, such as Black Girls Code. These firms are also taking more immediate steps to improve their recruiting and retention of minority and women employees. Underrepresentation is not the same as discrimination. However, when a group is as underrepresented as women, African Americans, and Hispanics are in tech, unintentional and unconscious discrimination becomes likely.
Maxfield and Judith Honesty, CEO of Honesty Consulting, did research on workplace discrimination. As part of the study, Maxfield and Honesty asked 500 victims of discrimination to share their experiences. In simple terms, discrimination results in workplace incidences where someone feels unwelcome, excluded, discounted, or disadvantaged because of who they are—their race, age, gender, national origin, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, pregnancy, marital status or sexual orientation.
The infographic below outlines some of the common attributes of workplace discrimination and outlines seven common types of discrimination. "We catalogued hundreds of moments where victims were left questioning others' intentions and their own perceptions,” Honesty said. "The inner litany sounds a bit like, 'I'm upset, but I don't know if I should be, or if I have a right to be.' At best, this shadowy bias is exhausting. At worst, it's soul destroying to both the individual and the organization."
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