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Labor inclusion: barriers and enemies of diversity

On some occasion we have already talked about the miscellaneous equipment and the importance they have within organizations. For this type of equipment to exist, it is necessary to embrace a selection policy that advocates labor inclusion. Although many companies already do so, we can still find a series of barriers and obstacles that hinder access to the labor market and the development of a professional career for those who belong to certain groups.

Table of Contents

What is labor inclusion?

Labor inclusion is the set of processes that seek the full integration into the labor market of those people who have traditionally been discriminated against for one reason or another. For example, those affected by a disability, members of the LGBTQ+ community, those over 45, those belonging to ethnic minorities, etc.

What is sought is create work environments that foster diversity and equity, removing the barriers that prevent certain groups of people from accessing jobs commensurate with their training, skills and abilities.

Getting it is a complex task, because it is not enough to change the selection policy to eliminate biases, but you have to Foster a business culture that promotes tolerance and respect towards all people, without applying any type of discrimination. In this sense, the education and awareness of the rest of the staff members, to achieve the elimination of stereotypes and prejudices when selecting and promoting employees, is of vital importance.

Why is labor inclusion important?

We are in the 21st century and the exclusion in the labor market (and in all walks of life) continues to exist. If we do not belong to one of those groups that have traditionally been excluded, we may not perceive it, but it is there and it is a very hard reality to face for those who suffer from it.

Although it may seem incredible, today there are still those who have to hide their sexual orientation in a job interview for fear of not being considered a suitable candidate. Even candidates who have trouble carrying out a selection process because they have a visual deficiency and the web through which they have to send their CV is not adapted for them. In the case of women, much progress has been made in their labor inclusion in recent decades, but the glass roof it still exists in some sectors, and this is another barrier to inclusion.

Labor inclusion, as the opposite pole to exclusion, is important for groups that continue to have difficulties when accessing a job or promotion, but also for society as a whole. Because, if we get everyone to have access to decent employment and according to their abilities, we will be promoting the emotional, economic and social well-being of the population as a whole.

The reality of social inclusion

The best proof of the importance of labor inclusion is that international entities such as the United Nations Organization are working to improve it. They try to integrate into the labor market groups that have been historically excluded or that are in a situation of vulnerability with respect to others.

In Spain, little by little progress has been made. In 2021, 34.6% of people between the ages of 16 and 64 with an officially recognized disability were employed. It is still a very low number, but we are light years ahead of the statistics of 30 years ago. If we were to review the employment data for other traditionally excluded groups, surely the data would not be much better. For this reason, it is time to start working to break down the barriers that are preventing full labor inclusion in companies, and the best way to do it is to know them well in order to know how to deal with them.

Barriers and enemies of diversity in the workplace

Indifference

As we mentioned before, many of the people who do not belong to a minority affected by labor exclusion do not really believe that it exists. They believe that in the labor market there is true equality of opportunity for all.

Let's think again: how many deaf people work at your company? How many male soccer players have openly acknowledged their homosexuality? How many people in wheelchairs do you see working in front of the cameras on a TV show?

One of the great barriers to inclusion is the indifference that the rest of society shows towards exclusion. Since it is not a problem that affects them, most people tend to ignore it directly. No.or they give it importance and do not fight alongside those who are most vulnerable so that they see their right to inclusion realized.

It is also important to note that often that indifference is given directly by the mere ignorance. If we do not know anyone who has encountered significant barriers to access the labor market, we will not have first-hand information to help us understand their problem and how that person feels.

Prejudices as an enemy of labor inclusion

The unconscious biases They are in our mind and we apply them almost without realizing it. These lead us to think that a man is always going to be a better option for physical work than a woman, or that members of certain minorities can cause problems if they are integrated into the workforce.

The biases lead us to prejudge people based on issues such as their origin, their gender, their training… without stopping to evaluate what the person in front of us is really like. It is difficult to separate from those conditions that we are using to draw a profile of her that, surely, has little or nothing to do with her reality.

Biases are still very present in the selection process and are an enemy for labor integration and for the creation of diverse teams. Ending them requires a lot of education and training for those who work in personnel selection, so that they learn to identify when biases are kicking in and can rule them out.

Lack of accessibility

There are companies that advocate diversity and non-discrimination and, even so, fail in labor integration. And many times they do it because they are not accessible enough for those people who may need some adaptation to carry out their work.

For example, that the building itself is not accessible. or that the hardware and software used are not suitable for handling by people who may have some type of disability. That could be the case of a vision or hearing problem, or a lack of mobility in the hand.

Lack of training and support

Employee training is essential for all companies. This not only helps them develop new skills, but also plays an important role in improving the working environment.

In many companies, opting out continues as long as they do not have to invest time, money and effort in more training and education. Because an inclusive company must provide the necessary education and training to those of its employees who belong to vulnerable groups. But they also have to educate and train the rest of the staff to avoid any type of discrimination.

Overprotection as an enemy of labor inclusion

Especially when we talk about people with disabilities, there is a tendency to treat them condescendingly, with excessive care, and trying to protect them. This, far from being positive for them, can hinder their learning process and their personal and professional development.

Companies must understand that employees who belong to the most vulnerable groups in terms of access to employment, may require a little extra help at the beginning. But that's just like any new worker who needs to adjust to the way they work in a new role. After, the employee must be allowed to develop with freedom and autonomy.

If we do not do so, we may be able to integrate people from traditionally excluded groups into our company. But at the same time we will never make them feel completely comfortable and it will not be strange that sooner or later they decide to take their talent elsewhere.

How to stand up to these enemies of labor inclusion?

Now that we know the most prominent barriers, it's time to do something about them, and here are some of the best solutions:

Training and information

All work teams should be aware that achieving inclusion is one more objective of the company. TThey have to learn to manage diversity and adapt to circumstances at all times.

Make diversity visible

Indifference and ignorance make us think that the world is just as we see it. But we must be aware that there are many other realities outside of our environment. 

Making diversity visible is something we must work on at a social level. Only then will we be able to put an end to prejudices and we will be able to give importance to the reality that other people live.

Within the company, we can move towards this objective with measures such as dialogue days, volunteer activities or a social teambuilding.

Achieving labor inclusion is not an easy task, but it is possible. If the organizations do their part a little, and the employees a little more, together we will achieve a fairer society in which equal opportunities are a reality and not a mere aspiration.



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