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How to win the competition for the best applicants: Five arguments for diversity

Anyone who automatically thinks of the multicultural models in the colorful advertising campaigns of United Colors of Benetton when hearing the term "diversity" is not entirely wrong, but this thought is short-sighted. Diversity is much more multi-faceted than it appears at first glance. Not only origin and cultural affiliation are encompassed in this term, but also parameters such as gender, age, disabilities, religion or sexual orientation. In addition, there are differences in values and attitudes – at best, a diverse workforce covers as many of the target groups that exist within society as possible. Diversity also plays an increasingly important role in the competition for the best applicants. In the following, you`ll find five reasons why.
Written on 10/21/20

1. Diversity implies equal opportunities
According to a study by stepstone and the Handelsblatt, 77 percent of the participants would rather apply to companies that stand for tolerance and diversity. Even more participants explicitly wish for a heterogeneous working environment. The reason for this is the belief that companies committed to these values automatically create equal and better career and promotion opportunities for all employees. Therefore, it is not surprising that diversity is particularly relevant for applicants with promotion ambitions.

2. Diversity creates a positive image
In the last decades a change of values has taken place in the world of work, which does not leave the demands on employers untouched. In particular, values such as meaningfulness and networked working with colleagues are becoming increasingly important, especially in the so-called generations X and Y. The clear positioning of companies in social debates, for example on "Me too", "#Outcry" or "black lives matter", is also appreciated – if not expected. If a company manages to position itself sensitively and authentically on these issues, this can become a decisive added value for its public perception. The premise, however, is that these values are an authentic part of the corporate culture.

3. Diversity ensures a better work-life balance
A company that implements diversity management in a responsible manner not only attaches importance to a healthy mix in its own workforce, but also deals with the different life realities of its employees. This automatically brings issues such as flexible working and the compatibility of career and family into the focus of HR managers. No wonder that various companies often offer more progressive concepts and enable a better work-life balance. 

4. Diversity is a feel-good factor 
"Diversity also has an internal effect", as it says on the website of the initiative "Charter of Diversity - for Diversity in the World of Work". Employee satisfaction is higher in diverse companies. So if you have gained a qualified employee, you will probably retain him/her in the long term. 

5. Diversity helps to avoid mistakes
The first airbags were invented in the 1950s - a major achievement in terms of road safety that has proven its worth to this day. At least when the passenger is a man. According to Focus, even today airbags are designed for the „standard man“. However, women, teenagers and older people do not correspond to the „standard man’s“ proportions and suffer more and worse injuries in case of a crash. Today, there are at least female crash test dummies; in the 1950s this was not the case. Women were simply not taken into consideration by the male engineers. If the team of scientists had been more diverse, this mistake would certainly not have happened. In the Tagesschau Zukunftspodcast, the economist Prof. Dr. Monika Schnitzer, member of the German Council of Economic Experts, puts forward the thesis that especially entrepreneurial wrong decisions caused by a too homogeneous team composition can be avoided. So wouldn't the diesel scandal have occurred if the managers at VW and Co had been more diverse? This question cannot be answered, but the decisive factor here is that diverse teams examine their decisions per se from multiple perspectives, making one-dimensional assessments less likely.

Especially companies affected by the shortage of skilled workers, should actively engage in diversity management. Above all the mentioned arguments for diversity, there is one thing that stands out: Diversity makes you successful. Countless studies leave no doubt about this: Diverse teams work more successfully. And success is attractive - after all, who wouldn't want to work for a successful company?