A Note About Workplace Diversity Data

A Note About Workplace Diversity Data


An important note about the data on workplace diversity is that the areas most often studied are race, ethnicity, and gender. Cedric Herring, in his study on the business case for diversity, offers a couple of key reasons for this.



First, he explains how social science research has shown that understanding racial and gender differences offers important insight into understanding human interactions, especially given that "these group identities are not easily changeable."

Second, the research is more fully developed for these social identity categories than for others, based on data that are often more readily available than those for other social identity categories, such as sexual orientation or age.

However, the fact that race, ethnicity, and gender are among the most studied diversity categories does not make them the most important or only categories to examine. It's a broad mix of diversity that contributes to enhancing creativity & innovation, team performance, employee engagement, and business performance.

But examining data on the challenges organizations continue to face in building diversity in the areas of race, ethnicity, and gender offers insight into the potential challenges organizations can encounter in building workplace diversity across other areas of individual differences, such as sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, disability status, social class, veteran status, nationality, immigration status, educational levels, and personality type. 

For data points on the current state of workplace diversity in the U.S., see related remix posts on workplace diversity.




Herring, Cedric, Does Diversity Pay? Race, Gender, and the Business Case for Diversity, American Sociological Review, Vol. 74, No. 2, April 2009, pp. 208-224.