There are several advantages and disadvantages to having diversity in the workplace. Diversity hiring has changed the workplace by allowing candidates of diverse backgrounds to obtain employment and in some instances has improved the equality of the workplace. In the United States there are federal laws in place to protect potential employees from workplace discrimination. Diversity hiring is a separate mandate that requires businesses to hire candidates of diverse backgrounds and is currently only prevalent in some states.
Qualified vs. Unqualified Individuals
Diversity in the workplace has become a requirement in many places. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. For example, a large multinational company may be required to hire individuals of a certain ethnicity in their facilities in the United States. If one ethnicity is more prominent in a particular location, the company may be left with few choices. As a result it may have to hire someone who doesn't do the job very well or does mediocre work in comparison with co-workers. This can create strife or hostility in the work environment and can be potentially damaging to a company.
On the other hand, a highly qualified candidate may not have been given a second look by certain employers simply because of race. This does still happen in the United States. Though it is illegal for employers to openly display racism, they may simply just choose not to hire someone of a certain race due to personal feelings. Diversity hiring could open the door for a highly qualified employee who could benefit the company with her knowledge and skills.
Productivity vs. Unproductivity
Many companies in the United States use diversity hiring to help their staff work more effectively. In a trying economic climate, worker productivity can mean the success or failure of a business. A company with a diverse workforce may be more productive as people of different cultural and religious backgrounds can generate ideas and come up with solutions that may be helpful for the company. For example, a company's marketing department may want to target middle-aged, African American women. Having an African American woman on staff could boost worker productivity by helping the rest of the marketing department generate ideas to gain new sales.
On the other end of the spectrum, employees can become distracted or confused by concepts that they are generally unfamiliar with, and this can slow productivity. A person who is not fluent in English could confuse his co-workers, who may choose not to work with that person. This can slow productivity because working as a team can be essential for productivity.
Economic Potential vs. Economic Disaster
Diversity employees can help a business tremendously, especially if the business operates multinationally. Several multinational companies operate primarily in the United States, so the following refers to U.S. companies. Diversity employees can offer insight for marketing techniques that would appeal to a certain demographic, give other employees new and innovative ideas, and increase worker productivity. However, if an employee is unenthusiastic about his job, he can cause a business to decline economically. This especially applies to the customer service department, as the way an employee handles customers could determine whether or not that customer stays loyal. An unhelpful or uncaring employee could hurt sales, which could ultimately hurt the company.