Majority of American workers agree: more diverse workforce equals more successful organization


Adecco USA Survey Finds Age #1 Form of Discrimination at the Office

MELVILLE, N.Y. (July 10, 2008) – Adecco USA, honored today at the United Nations during the World Diversity Leadership Summit by receiving the Global Partners Program Award, released results from its latest Workplace Insights survey series which takes a close look at what American workers think about the role of diversity at the office.  While the majority of workers (61 percent) agree that having a diverse workforce makes their organization more successful, almost half of employees (47 percent) have felt discriminated against at the office, with age cited as the top form of workplace discrimination.  Additional survey findings include:

  • Workforce Diversity a Work in Progress:  Despite the majority of workers (60 percent) reporting that having a diverse workforce is a top priority for their employer, only one-third (34 percent) believe that corporate America has achieved total workforce diversity.
  • Age-Old Issues Continue: Of those American workers who have experienced discrimination at the office, age (52 percent) was the most prevalent form followed by gender (43 percent), race (32 percent), religion (9 percent) and disability (7 percent).
  • Companies Not Practicing What they Preach?:  The vast majority of workers (78 percent) feel that having a diverse workforce is something that most companies publicize more than they actually implement, revealing skepticism among American workers when it comes to their company’s diversity initiatives.
  • More Diverse Equals More Productive: Not only do the majority of workers think that a diverse workforce makes their organization more successful, half of respondents (53 percent) felt that the more diverse their company, the more productive a worker they’d become.

“As the idea of a truly diverse workforce continues to evolve, what’s become more and more clear to employers is that achieving this is not only about adhering to regulations or being seen as politically correct, but directly ties to their organization’s success and their ability to be innovative and profitable,” said Lois Cooper, who leads Diversity & Inclusion at Adecco USA.  “Building an inclusive culture continues to be a top priority on most company’s strategic agendas, and is certainly attainable with the right amount of commitment, communication and follow-through at all levels of an organization.”

For employers looking to further strengthen their diverse workforce, Adecco suggests thinking about implementing the following five strategies:

  1. Gain senior management commitment.  Building a truly inclusive culture needs to be an initiative that starts at the top, with buy-in and investment from senior management.  Without their endorsement and support, any culture shift or implementation will be unsuccessful.
  2. Engage employees in the process.  The best way to know how successful your diversity initiatives are or where there needs to be improvement is by asking your staff.  As your best and most effective focus group, your employees should be engaged from the onset and your program should be tailored to their needs and feedback.
  3. Support local/community diversity groups.  Looking to your local community is an effective and easy way to start putting action behind your diversity plans. Employers can consider donating their time and/or resources to a wide range of organizations like the Urban League or AARP which help to support and give back to local communities.
  4. Provide diversity training.  What is diversity? What does an inclusive culture mean? What are the laws associated with ensuring discrimination is not present in the office?  These are important questions whose answers should be top of mind and consistent from employee to employee.  The only way for this to happen is through implementing an effective diversity training program – from online tutorials to in-person training, there are many options for employers to consider.
  5. Promote open communication. Both encouraging and delivering open and honest communication is essential to creating an inclusive culture.  All levels of the organization should know that they’re working in a safe environment where they can voice their diversity concerns without consequence and employers should be transparent about what is happening in the company to address potential issues/areas of concern.

For a complete copy of the Adecco Diversity 2008 survey results please contact Anthony Guerrieri at

Survey Methodology:
This Diversity survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Adecco between June 16 and June 18, 2008 among 2,206 adults ages 18+, of whom, 1,282 are employed full-time and/or part-time. Results were weighted as needed on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, and race/ethnicity. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. For complete methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Anthony Guerrieri.

Adecco Worldwide:
Adecco S.A. is a Global Fortune 500 company and the world leader in workforce solutions. The Adecco Group network connects over 700,000 associates with business clients each day through its network of over 33,000 employees and 6,600 offices in over 70 countries and territories around the world. Registered in Switzerland, and managed by a multinational team with expertise in markets spanning the globe, the Adecco Group delivers an unparalleled range of flexible staffing and career resources to corporate clients and qualified associates.
Adecco North America:
Adecco is the workforce solutions leader in the United States and Canada, with a comprehensive service offering that includes temporary and contract staffing, permanent recruitment, outplacement and career services, recruitment process outsourcing, training and consulting.

In addition to its administrative, clerical and light industrial staffing services, Adecco operates the following specialty divisions:

  • Engineering & Technical
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Information Technology
  • Medical & Science
  • Legal
  • Human Capital Solutions
  • Government Solutions
  • Transportation

Adecco S.A. is registered in Switzerland (ISIN: CH001213860) and listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange with trading on virt-x (SWX/VIRT-X: ADEN) and Euronext Paris - Premier Marché (EURONEXT: ADE).

Additional information is available at the company’s website at

Harris Interactive:
Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research, powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit

For further information, please contact:
Jacqueline Chen Valencia
Vice President, Public Relations Director, Public Relations
Adecco Group North America

Anthony Guerrieri
Director, Public Relations
Adecco Group North America

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