Diversity, Inclusion, and Generation Z in the United States

Dr. Colleen Batchelder

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Gen Z is the most diverse generation, and it’s time for companies to catch up.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about how Generation Z wants their place of work to be racially diversified and gender-inclusive. In addition, they expect them to be welcoming to LGBTQIA+.

To recruit Gen Z members, you must ensure your work reflects your customers and team’s values.

What is diversity?

Diversity is all-encompassing, whether it’s the diversity of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. In the workplace, it is about having a mix of people with different backgrounds.

When companies set out to create a diversified work environment, it’s much more than a branding initiative––it’s a step towards collaboration and partnership that celebrates all.

Think about some of the most popular businesses right now. Why are they so successful? It’s not that they increased their branding or added a bit of tokenism to their new home page.

Many companies have been doing diversity work for a long time without any fanfare or press releases. This is true diversity, and they understand that diversity should always occur because everyone should feel welcome and heard.

Why does diversity matter so much to Gen Z?

Diversity matters to Generation Z for all the same reasons it matters to other generations. It’s the only action that makes sense. And it’s the only choice that companies should make.

For companies to remain competitive, they need top talent. To attract the best of the best, you have to be a place where all are welcomed, heard, and can create impact.

Remember, diversity is not about representation––it’s not about filling a room. If anything, diversity is about inviting everyone in the room to speak and impact the company’s future.

This is what Generation Z wants. It’s something that they expect. Here are four specific ways that Gen Z is the most diverse generation:

Only 52% of Gen Z are white

Yep. You read that right. According to Pew Research, one in four Gen Zers are Hispanic. This is huge news, and companies need to pay attention to the shift in demographics.

In addition, in the US, this group is growing three times faster than any other ethnic or racial group. And more than one in five is Hispanic or of another race.

The future of this diverse generation will soon be the majority.

Only 26% of Gen Z identify as exclusively heterosexual

Inclusion and diversity are not just buzzwords for this generation.

LGBTQIA+ inclusion has been named one of the top three most important things that Generation Z looks for when looking at companies to work with or buy from.

Only 20% of Gen Z are politically conservative

According to a new Public Religion Research Institute report, less than one-quarter of Generation Z are Republican. In contrast, about half of this generation identify as Democrats. And 43% of Generation Zers identify as political independents.

This is a significant change from how things have been traditionally for Republicans and Democrats. It’s been customary for the Democratic Party to have more young voters than the Republican Party has had in recent years.

Generation Z is even more independent than previous generations, so companies should start looking toward a future of bipartisan support. In other words, they won’t be voting strictly left or right in the years to come.

So, what does all this mean for the future of business?

Nelson Mandela once said that “diversity is humanity’s greatest natural resource.”

Diversity is our greatest strength, and Generation Z knows this better than anyone else.

For companies to attract Gen Zers––and keep them––it starts with diversity in your workforce, company culture, neighborhood, and community. This generation comes with a different definition of diversity, and they aren’t willing to settle for a counterfeit.

If you want your business to be successful with this generation, you need to think of ways to diversify your team members, create a workplace for everyone, and show that everyone belongs with your actions.

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Dr. Colleen Batchelder is a leadership strategist and diversity and inclusion consultant. She has been featured in Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur Mexico, Ladders, She Owns It, MSN, Chief Learning Officer, and Talent Management. In addition to being a sought-after writer on leadership and DEI, she is also the author of an upcoming anti-racism book through Quoir Publishing (coming out in 2022).

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