February 2, 2023
Business Confidence Slips to Begin 2023
A strong performance by the Massachusetts economy during the fourth quarter of 2022 was not enough to stem…Read More
Posted on January 7, 2023
Massachusetts has historically been in the vanguard of movements to provide equality and respect to all citizens. The commonwealth was among the first to embrace universal health care, same-sex marriage, and most recently, the first women LGBTQ governor.
But the commonwealth has been slower to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion. Much work remains to be done to ensure that all businesses and citizens can share in the economic prosperity of Massachusetts.
Consider the following:
The picture is not wholly bleak. The commonwealth has made progress with initiatives like Boston’s Sheltered Market Program, which allows state and local governments to reserve certain contracts for minority and/or women-owned businesses and the 100% Talent Compact which is focused on eliminating the gender and racial wage gap.
Nevertheless, the demographic tides in the commonwealth are shifting rapidly and the Massachusetts business community must increase the velocity of change in this area in order to remain attractive for employers and employees.
Massachusetts can distinguish itself from competitor states by addressing disparities that limit people from participating in the workforce at equal rates. Creating opportunities positively impacts consumer consumption, investment and economic growth. Massachusetts wins when the business environment is equitable and inclusive.
We know these efforts work because we know how valuable minority owned businesses (MBEs) are to the economic health of the country:
Massachusetts employers are struggling to find qualified talent to meet demand. Recruiting and retaining employees will not get easier going forward. Attracting and retaining talent will come down to having attributes that resonate with employees and make them both loyal workers and advocates for their organization.
Gen Z – defined as those people born in the late 1990s to early 2010s – will make up 30% of the working population in just seven years. These individuals are driven by a sense of purpose. They are looking for fulfillment from their employment. They are demanding that their employers be aligned with their personal values, including values of diversity, social justice, equity, and all forms of gender identity.
According to survey by Tallo, roughly one-third of respondents reported that they did not apply for a job because they feared unfair treatment or discrimination. Conversely, almost 70% of Gen Z respondents said they’d be “absolutely” more likely to apply to a job with a company whose recruiters (and marketing materials) reflected a more racially and ethnically diverse workplace.
What can employers do to ensure they are making the necessary strides to advance DE&I within their organizations and attract the talent of tomorrow? Several AIM members are setting the bar high:
AIM applauds these members and many others who are stepping up to do what it takes to attract talent by doing what is right to achieve diversity equity and inclusion.
AIM believes the business community has a responsibility to contribute to the economic engine of the state and also to be a force for good. Being equitable and inclusive with diverse individuals and organizations is not just the right thing to do – it is the business imperative of this decade if we are to remain attractive to employers and employees and maximize the economic success of the state.
We will continue our efforts to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization that represents the full variety of businesses and business people in Massachusetts. We hope you will join us in these efforts.