Diversity in America’s Business Landscape

Kimberly Barrett
3 min readJan 13, 2022

The benefits of diversity in the workplace are manifold. The chief advantage of bringing together workers from different walks of life is the introduction of new ideas and manners of thinking. As you might imagine, like-minded people often come up with similar ideas. Considering the importance of creativity and innovation in virtually every global industry, the value of diversity speaks for itself.

Diversity in the workplace has been associated with increased productivity. Studies have found diversification efforts to coincide with up to 35 percent productivity increase. This boost can be attributed, in part, to a diverse workforce’s ability to effectively respond to a wide range of customer needs and problems. Similarly, more diverse staffs enjoy higher employee morale and efficiency.

Reduced employee turnover and increased revenue are additional benefits of workplace diversity. With less employee turnover, executives enjoy the benefits of staff continuity while also being able to invest more in other aspects of their business. In regards to revenue, a Boston Consulting Group study found that a diversified workforce generates 19 percent more revenue than comparable businesses with less diversity.

Unfortunately, many of the nation’s industries remain fairly homogeneous. Baseline diversity data can help us understand this dilemma in the modern business landscape. An estimated 63.4 percent of the American workforce is male, and 79.1 percent are white.

Research has determined aircraft pilot as the least diverse profession in the United States. This includes pilots of planes, helicopters, and other aerial vehicles responsible for moving passengers and cargo. Of the approximately 141,000 pilots in America, 93.7 percent were white, and 92.5 percent were male.

The farming industry is similarly slanted towards white males. More than nine in 10 farmers and ranchers are white, and nearly three-quarters are male. However, not all industries trend towards males; about 95 percent of speech-language pathologists are female, more than 90 percent of whom are white.

On the brighter side, a few American industries have achieved fairly consistent marks regarding diversity. Of the country’s 170,000 medical scientists, 51 percent are women, and 64 percent are white. That said, about 63 percent of non-white medical scientists are Asian, suggesting more diversity efforts could benefit African American and Latinx professionals in the field.

The statisticians and business operations specialist professions are similarly diverse. Both fields consist of more than 50 percent women. However, while 69.6 percent of statisticians are white, nearly 76 percent of business operations specialists are white, comparable to the national workforce.

Norway, New Zealand, Iceland, Australia, Switzerland, and Canada are among the countries with the most diverse labor forces on the global stage. The United States ranks at №9 overall. Nations with the least various labor forces included the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Pakistan. The healthcare industry is the world’s most diverse industry, while construction, utilities, and mining rank as the least diverse industry in the world.

There are numerous steps executive leaders can take to improve diversity throughout their business, from implementing a diversity council to the use of more diverse job boards. A company can highlight its desire for more diverse hires when advertising a position opening. For more insight, companies should reach out to a trained diversity consultant.

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Kimberly Barrett
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An accomplished executive in higher education, Dr. Kimberly Barrett has nearly 30 years of experience in diversity consulting.