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Brief Published: 24 Aug 2020

New International Survey Reveals Employee Priorities

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Workers across the US, UK, Germany, Brazil and China are calling for more inclusive and diverse workspaces, according to a July report from multinational tech companies Lenovo and Intel Corporation. Key insights from Diversity & Inclusion in the Global Workplace include the need for companies to adapt to employees’ post-pandemic lifestyles, and the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to boost accessibility. 

  • Sweeping Demand for Diversity: Across all five countries surveyed, the majority of employees said corporate diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies are “extremely” or “very” important in deciding whether to apply for a role or accept an offer. China led this view (89%), followed by Brazil (88%), the US (75%), the UK (59%), and Germany (52%) (Lenovo and Intel, 2020). 
    The report forecasts that corporate inclusivity will become even more imperative as Gen Z (born between 1996 and 2009) enters the workplace. For more on differing generational attitudes to racial equality, see The Brief.
  • AI Elicits Optimism & Apprehension: The majority of respondents felt that technology can help promote diverse workforces – for example, improving communication beyond cultural or language barriers, and making careers more accessible to people with disabilities. 
    Employees in Brazil (82%) and China (92%) were especially positive about AI’s role in driving inclusion. Yet there are widespread concerns – in the US (57%), UK (45%), Germany (41%), Brazil (54%), China (64%) – that AI could unintentionally sideline people from underrepresented communities. For more on algorithmic bias, listen to our Future Thinking Podcast for more on this topic.
    To reduce such risks, employees believe that tech products and services are better when developed by diverse teams, with 84% of Chinese respondents, 78% in Brazil and 71% of Americans in agreement. 
  • Prioritising Flexibility & Freedom: Companies will also need to better integrate with employees’ wider lifestyles in order to retain talent. Flexible hours were cited as the most important benefit in Germany, the US and the UK, while opportunities for sabbaticals ranked highest in China, and Brazilians favoured programmes for upskilling (Lenovo and Intel, 2020). 
    For more ways that brands can foster greater diversity in the workplace, see Nurturing Black Talent and The Future of the Workplace, publishing August 26.
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