The re­cent di­ver­sity stats re­leased in 2015 by cor­po­ra­tions like Google, Ap­ple and Face­book have sparked de­bates around the world de­mand­ing ex­pla­na­tions on why lead­er­ship roles are be­ing dom­i­nated by whites. Share­hold­ers have de­manded that there be in­clus

Qatar Today - - INSIDE THIS ISSUE - By Keer­tana Ko­duru

Qatar To­day ex­plores the chal­lenges the coun­try faces when it comes to dis­par­ity in the re­cruit­ment process.

Qatar, a de­vel­op­ing coun­try that has been di­ver­si­fy­ing it­self into sec­tors such as sports, re­search and in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties abroad, has at­tracted a more ex­panded and eclec­tic work­force, so Qatar is a coun­try rich in cul­tural di­ver­sity, more so than any other coun­tries I have lived and worked in,” says El­iz­a­beth Flem­ing, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Qatar De­vel­op­ment and Con­sul­tancy Cen­tre. “Cul­tural di­ver­sity has been in Qatar for many years; his­tor­i­cally, the pearl in­dus­try brought trade and with it di­ver­sity. Qatar holds tra­di­tions and moral val­ues of its own while al­low­ing many na­tion­al­i­ties in to sup­port its growth and I be­lieve they do this well.”

In most multi­na­tional com­pa­nies, there is an ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ence be­tween the eth­nic­i­ties hired for var­i­ous jobs. “It is both un­law­ful and in­hu­mane to dis­crim­i­nate based on race. I have al­ways wit­nessed choices in the work­place based on com­pe­tence and con­fi­dence. How­ever, as a world ci­ti­zen, I be­lieve the me­dia has a large role to play in cre­at­ing mis­un­der­stand­ings and un­nec­es­sary scare­mon­ger­ing that would af­fect de­ci­sions within and be­yond the work­place. The me­dia tends to evoke fear in those that have lit­tle education about the world they live in and this is very dan­ger­ous and dam­ag­ing,” ex­plains Flem­ing.

Qatari­sa­tion has been a pri­or­ity in re­cent

years mak­ing it quite dif­fi­cult for tal­ented ex­pats to right­fully earn their place in the hi­er­ar­chy of an or­ga­ni­za­tion. The younger gen­er­a­tion of Qataris is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence to the sys­tem by get­ting the right education re­quired for jobs based on their in­ter­ests. “Like ev­ery other coun­try that needed to step up when needed, Qatar na­tion­als will make the nec­es­sary changes to sup­port the vi­sion of Qatar. Dur­ing World War II many Euro­pean coun­tries had to en­list fe­male em­ploy­ees which had never hap­pened pre­vi­ously; from man­age­rial jobs, to labour­ers to farm­ers, fe­males had to sup­port their fam­i­lies and if their spouse or father died, they had to con­tinue to do this; This changed so­ci­ety and so­ci­ety adapted be­cause it had to. Qatari­sa­tion is nec­es­sary and Qatar too will re­spond to the nec­es­sary changes it will need to make; it is hu­man na­ture to sup­port what needs to hap­pen to move for­ward as a na­tion. It should be noted that I have met some of the most wise, con­sid­er­ate and in­tel­li­gent busi­ness peo­ple who are Qatari; there is bal­ance in all so­ci­eties with re­gard to education,” adds Flem­ing. There is also dis­par­ity in salaries earned by ex­pats in Qatar who form the ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion in this coun­try. A Bri­tish pass­port holder earns more than an Asian em­ployee even though they put the same time and ef­fort into work­ing their way up the lad­der. “I un­der­stand this prac­tice was based upon at­tract­ing can­di­dates to ap­ply at the most eco­nom­i­cal price and the cost of their liv­ing while re­sid­ing in Qatar. How­ever, this prac­tice re­mains in­equitable and I would hope it has been re­placed with ca­pac­ity to de­liver the role re­quire­ments, ir­rel­e­vant of race. Hav­ing said that, there are some roles that spec­ify race for visa pur­poses and have a set re­mu­ner­a­tion pack­age, so in the­ory it may be a con­tin­ued prac­tice for visa rea­sons,” ex­plains Flem­ing.

Big cor­po­ra­tions like Face­book and Google be­lieve that in­clu­sion and di­ver­sity play a key role in cre­at­ing a more open and con­nected world. Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany's re­cently re­leased di­ver­sity re­port in 2015, the white work­ing pop­u­la­tion at Face­book stands at 55% in the US whereas Asian, His­panic and blacks come up to 36%, 4% and 2%, re­spec­tively. Sim­i­larly at Ya­hoo!, re­ports show 50% are white and 39% are Asian; Lati­nos make up 4% of the work­force and blacks ac­count for 2%. Re­leas­ing Ap­ple's di­ver­sity re­port, CEO Tim Cook said that he was not happy with the num­bers. Max­ine Wil­liams, Global Di­rec­tor of Di­ver­sity at Face­book, an­nounced di­ver­sity is cen­tral to Face­book's mis­sion of cre­at­ing a more open and con­nected world. “It's good for our prod­ucts and for our busi­ness. Our work is pro­duc­ing some pos­i­tive but mod­est change and our new hire num­bers are trend­ing up,” She said.

“It isn't easy to have 2,000 em­ploy­ees from 42 na­tion­al­i­ties”, says Ramesh Prab­hakar, CEO of Rivoli Group. “We have a great team that we work with. It is very im­por­tant to have di­ver­sity in the team. Firstly, you stop be­ing judg­men­tal. When you work with a group of peo­ple, you tend to see where anx­i­eties are, where pos­i­tiv­ity is and you un­der­stand that peo­ple re­act dif­fer­ently be­cause of cir­cum­stances, ori­gins, etc., Se­condly, it adds a flavour, peo­ple have dif­fer­ent thoughts and ideas. I have as­sis­tants from Slo­vakia, Poland and Bri­tain. Com­ing from In­dia, when I say I have to visit my great grand­fa­ther's house, they are sur­prised. It is a truly global feel to work with dif­fer­ent peo­ple and there is a lot to learn from each other.”

Di­ver­sity has a dif­fer­ent mean­ing when

it comes to var­i­ous gen­er­a­tions. Be­ing in­clu­sive and wel­com­ing of the many cul­tures that ex­ist in to­day's world has been dif­fi­cult to ac­cept by the older gen­er­a­tion. The mil­len­ni­als (also known as Gen­er­a­tion Y), how­ever, have their own sense of di­ver­sity – 83% are ac­tively en­gaged when they be­lieve that their or­ga­ni­za­tion fos­ters an in­clu­sive cul­ture when com­pared to the non-mil­len­ni­als.

Speak­ing about the in­flu­en­tial fac­tors through the hir­ing process, Flem­ing says “Education and lan­guage have al­ways pro­vided a greater op­por­tu­nity for those who wish to in­flu­ence oth­ers, specif­i­cally in busi­ness. As a fe­male en­tre­pre­neur, I have never felt my gen­der was an is­sue, nor my be­ing of Chris­tian ori­gin. I have al­ways been in­quis­i­tive about cul­tural and religious norms (this is part of my an­thro­po­log­i­cal education) and cou­pled with my cu­rios­ity, I have found Qatari na­tion­als open to re­spect­ful dis­cus­sion to gain in­sight into one an­other's world – that is the beauty of di­ver­sity, mu­tual learn­ing.”

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion chal­lenges play a ma­jor role in the re­cruit­ment process in a com­pany. In Qatar, ex­pats come from coun­tries like Rus­sia, Slo­vakia, Korea, Philip­pines, China, In­dia, Europe and the US to make a liv­ing which also makes for a great work­ing en­vi­ron­ment only if one is ac­com­mo­dat­ing enough to lis­ten and be heard. “Most key de­ci­sion mak­ers are Qatari, but then we are in Qatar so I would ex­pect and sup­port a Qatari na­tional to steer a busi­ness in this coun­try, as the out­comes of busi­ness and the fu­ture of the coun­try are on their shoul­ders. I see ex­pats as stew­ards and sup­port­ers of busi­nesses that are grow­ing and de­vel­op­ing the coun­try,” says Flem­ing.

The Rad­i­cal Trans­for­ma­tion of Di­ver­sity and In­clu­sion: The Mil­len­nial In­flu­ence re­search re­port re­leased by Deloitte and Bil­lie Jean King Lead­er­ship Ini­tia­tive, states that as Gen­er­a­tion Y floods lead­er­ship ranks, they strive to be in­clu­sive. They are much more con­cerned with cog­ni­tive di­ver­sity, or di­ver­sity of thoughts, ideas, and philoso­phies, and in solv­ing busi­ness prob­lems through a cul­ture of col­lab­o­ra­tion. For mil­len­ni­als, in­clu­sion isn't just about get­ting peo­ple of dif­fer­ent creeds in a room. It's about con­nect­ing th­ese in­di­vid­u­als, form­ing teams on which ev­ery­one has a say, and cap­i­tal­iz­ing on a va­ri­ety of per­spec­tives in or­der to make a stronger busi­ness im­pact. When asked about the busi­ness im­pact of di­ver­sity, mil­len­ni­als are 71% more likely to fo­cus on team­work com­pared with 28% of non­mil­len­ni­als who are more likely to fo­cus on fair­ness of op­por­tu­nity. Mil­len­ni­als be­lieve that pro­grammes aimed at di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion should fo­cus on im­proved busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties and out­comes as a re­sult of the ac­cep­tance of cog­ni­tive di­ver­sity, specif­i­cally in­di­vid­u­al­ism, col­lab­o­ra­tion, team­work, and in­no­va­tion

EL­IZ­A­BETH FLEM­ING Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Qatar De­vel­op­ment and Con­sul­tancy Cen­ter


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