The trouble with inclusion

It’s not often that I go to Australian Mining for either news or inspiration. But an article appearing in Link’s weekly digest caught my eye with the headline: Mining companies target employees with a disability to increase diversity, Hays (9/10/17).

According to Hays’ latest analysis on recruitment trends, mining companies are pursuing potential employees who have a disability as a new method for increasing workforce diversity. In this industry, the diversity push has traditionally focused on increasing the proportion of female and Indigenous Australians in workforces.

Now it’s people with disability’s turn.

Diversity. It’s a wise focus for any workforce. For too long, companies sought to recruit ‘people just like them’. Yet we know this diminishes our capacity to come up with a broad sweep of fresh ideas, solve problems creatively and keep people interested in coming to work.

But creating workplace diversity is not easy. Often, the mind is willing, but the application is weak.

As a society, we still have a lot of shackles to shed.

At the ripe age of 22, I was startled to realise that my female boss was smarter than me. (Thanks for your patience, Jean.) I’d been raised in a traditional household where the women stayed home (and we didn’t acknowledge this as work) and the men got paid for their labour, at jobs.

Thanks to the Jeans of this world, we no longer contemplate whether it’s appropriate for women to work. But we’re still having a similar argument over minority groups.

I get it. I do. I get frustrated at the Macca’s drive-through when they don’t serve me fast enough, then become completely ashamed when I realise that the pace may have been slowed by a worker that we (NOVA Employment) placed into work. I can’t have it both ways.

This is not to say that all people with disability are slower than the rest. Not at all.

But are we prepared to wait an extra minute for our Big Macs, while we implement what we all agree to be the fair sharing of roles in society?

 - Martin Wren