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The Diverse Work Force

Three charts depicting diversity in the workplace: diversity increases, managing challenges, accomodation.

Nearly half the small companies surveyed by the Olsten Corp. reported increases in the number of womrn and racial minorities among their employees during the past five years. Managing a more diverse work force, including more immigrants and workers with disabilities, is challenging the managers of the 179 companies that responded to the survey, each of which had less than $50 million in annual sales. Companies are addressing cultural, communication, and training barriers primarily by promoting awareness about diverse cultures through internal communication.

* * *

Increases in Diversity over the Past Five Years

Percentage of companies In entire In
reporting increases among: work force management
Women 49% 60%
Racial minorities 44 28
Immigrants 30 6
The disabled 19 4
* * *

Greatest Challenges to Managing Diversity
Percentage of companies grappling with challenges (divided by category)

Attitudes/culture 58%

Communication 54

Need for more training 49

Providing career opportunities 37

Language barriers 23

Developing role models/mentors 19

* * *

What Companies Have Done to Accommodate Diversity
Percentage of companies grappling with changes (divided by category)

Improve corporate communications 55%

Observe religious holidays 38

Offer seminars/training 34

Form a task force 20

Offer management training 18

Translate materials 15

Restructure benefits 15

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Source: "Workplace Social Issues of the 1990s," the Olsten Forum on Human Resource Issues and Trends, the Olsten Corp., Westbury, N.Y., 1992.

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