Diversified work force requires more sensitivity

June 22, 1992|By Gerald Graham | Gerald Graham,Knight-Ridder News Service

By 2000, according to projections by Monthly Labor Review, white males will decline to approximately 40 percent of the labor force. Women will increase to 47 percent, blacks and Hispanics will each make up about 10 percent of the labor pool, and Asians will amount to almost 4 percent.

Organizations are implementing several strategies to help resolve issues caused by an increasingly diverse work force:

* Cultural sensitivity training. Typically, sensitivity training consists of one- to two-day programs where participants receive information on the cultural differences of employees. Videotapes, role-playing and small group discussions appear to be helpful.

* Employee teams. Task and focus groups of a cross section of employees are becoming popular as a means of offering ideas, testing programs and providing feedback on diversity issues.

* Special minority recruiting. Experts predict that as many as 75 percent of the organizations in the major industries will have special minority-recruiting programs within the next five years. Programs may define recruiting goals, recruit in specific cultural communities and train managers how to recruit minorities.

* English as a second language. Many organizations that have a large number of employees who have a primary language other than English will offer English classes to help improve communication.

* Extended child-care leaves. More organizations will likely provide paid leaves for parents during and after childbirth. Some will also allow working parents to take sick leave time for sick children.

Management quiz

Respond "true" or "false" to the following. Within the next few years:

1. Almost half of the work force will be women.

2. Less than 25 percent of the work force will be white men.

3. Hispanics will make up more than 20 percent of the work force.

4. Blacks will comprise more than 25 percent of the work force.

5. Almost 5 percent of the work force will be Asian.

6. More than 75 percent of companies in some industries will have diversity training.

7. More than 75 percent of the companies in some industries will implement specific minority recruiting programs.

8. Fifteen percent of the net addition will be white men.

9. More than 60 percent of women over the age of 16 will be working.

10. The greatest percentage of population growth will occur in the West.

Answers: Items 2 (40 percent), 3 (10 percent), and 4 (11 percent) are false. Items 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are predicted to be true.

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