Why Companies Should Add Class to Their Diversity Discussions

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Why Companies Should Add Class to Their Diversity Discussions

September 5, 2018

Most big companies today have diversity and inclusion programs focused on issues of race and gender in the workplace. But in these initiatives, very few companies include socioeconomic class as a dimension. That can make white-collar workplaces alienating to professionals who grew up in blue-collar households — people scholars call “class migrants.” Class migrants report lower levels of belonging in the workplace, feel disadvantaged by lack of knowledge about the “rules of the game” in a corporate office, and are less often seen as a “good fit” due to arbitrary measures. Employers who exclude class from discussions about diversity and inclusion risk losing or alienating talented employees. Including class as a factor that is considered when establishing hiring, onboarding, promotion, and evaluation processes makes these systems fairer to all employees — especially to class migrant white men who may be excluded from diversity or inclusion initiatives, and to employees of colour, as people of colour are more likely than white people to be class migrants.

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