Leaders concerned over workplace diversity

Results from a survey of 60 South Island leaders all aged under 50 has shown a marked shift in concerns, including their own employment outlook.

The inaugural 2017 Sheffield Leadership Survey found the  biggest concern then was  health and safety issues, while in 2018 that  had shifted to the leaders’ own performance and how to best manage their people, Sheffield director Mike Stenhouse said.

"Even more worrying was that 30% of those surveyed said that they do not see a long-term future in their current organisation," Mr Stenhouse said.

He said in response to the 2017 survey, people "overwhelmingly" said  they were concerned with the next generation of leaders and how best to manage them.

"That’s why for this survey, we specifically spoke to leaders under 50," he said in a statement.

He noted  many companies had four or even five generations in their workplace.

"While having a diverse workplace, in terms of age, ethnicity and gender is positive, the leaders said that they were not confident with their bosses’ ability to work with a range of diverse staff," Mr Stenhouse said.

Only 62% of the leaders’ rated their boss as being "comfortable" working with people of different ages, genders and ethnicities, he said.

"This is something that is going to have to be addressed rather soon, given the fact that 75% of the workforce will be comprised of millennials by 2025," he said.

The survey also revealed the lack of understanding on how to attract Generation Z, the latest generation entering the workforce, with only 30% of respondents saying they knew how to lead them.

Senior consultant at Sheffield Louise Green said an interesting aspect of the multigenerational workforce was that despite age differences they all wanted feedback, wanted good leaders, liked to learn and wanted respect in the workplace. Findings from The Sheffield Leadership Survey will be presented at two free events, both on August 1, in the morning in Invercargill’s Ascot Hotel and in the early evening at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.


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