drivers of diversityRace, religion, gender, age, political affiliation – there are a variety of ways we show our diversity and individuality. Whether chosen or given, we often fall into groupings based on these demographics and characteristics.

In today’s world, diversity is more prevalent than ever. For example, minority populations growing at exponential rates and new belief systems and theories are introduced every day. This leads to a wide-ranging applicant pool and student population in higher education environments – leading to more diversity on campus.

What is Driving Diversity?

There are many reasons diversity is growing in the United States. Here’s a look at some of the major contributors:

Generational Shift

As the baby boomer generation heads toward retirement, younger, tech-savvy millennials are entering the workforce, many having just graduated from college. Within the next 15 years, nearly 15 million white workers will be out of the labor force age population, most due to retirement.

Cultures Climb

According to William Frey, author of “Diversity Explosion”, about 17 million Hispanics, 4 million Asians and 3 million African Americans will be entering the workforce, and “by 2023, whites will comprise less than half of the U.S. population under age 30. All of the growth in the future labor force will be racial minorities, particularly Hispanics”.

Diversity and the Job Market for Students

With the general population and workforce becoming more diverse, campuses are implementing diversity and inclusion best practices. Because of the changing workforce climate, campus administrators and students are becoming more aware of the skills, needed to succeed in tomorrow’s work place.

When it comes to students and diversity, two things are happening:

  1. There is now less consistency in workplace culture, which means younger employees need to be aware and have an understanding of how to work with people of different ages, generational periods, belief systems and more.
  2. To prepare for their careers in diverse environments, students now seek a more multicultural educational experience, with exposure to different races, ethnicities, languages and cultural characteristics.

According to the ACT’s recently released 2016National Curriculum Survey, “more than pure academic skills, employers value social traits that would allow for cooperation within a more diverse setting.” The types of behavioral skills that employers find most valuable included honesty, sustained effort, fairness, getting along with others and composure.

How to Increase Diversity and Inclusion on Campus

To help prepare students for the workforce, campuses can implement strategies to increase inclusion and diversity on campus.

One way campuses are making a push to creating a more diverse college experience for its students is by employing faculty and administrators from diverse backgrounds. Their cultural experience and knowledge can help students succeed beyond the classroom.

Dr. Lisa McBride, inaugural chief diversity officer at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, recently recorded a podcast series about students and diversity with Campus Answers. According to Dr. McBride, there are five keys to effectively implementing and managing diversity and inclusion in higher education:

  1. Share a common vision and a common destiny
  2. Speak a common language
  3. Establish a diversity framework and the measures for success
  4. Establish clear roles and accountability
  5. Celebrate and recognize achievements often

In addition to preparing students for the workforce, embracing and supporting diversity on campus is important for the campus community. By promoting an atmosphere of inclusion and respect for others, campuses will benefit from increased morale, productivity and collaboration.


For more information on students and diversity, Campus Answers provides a diversity training course that covers topics such as diversity benefits, the power of respectful language, uncovering implicit bias, managing a multigenerational workforce and transition to respect.

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