Workforce diversity

By John Dudovskiy

Due to the forces of globalisation, increasing significance of internet in everyday life and a range of other factors the nature of the workforce is going through changes. In order to survive in today’s highly competitive marketplace companies have to deal with changes in their workforce efficiently.
Specifically, companies need to devise initiatives and programs aimed to deal with the issues of the ageing the population in many developed countries the percentage of which represent their workforce, as well as their need to implement practices that eliminate the possibility of diversity in the workforce becoming a major issue within an organisation. Moreover, because of the changing patterns of employment including working from home and job sharing, companies are left with no choice but to accommodate workforce who prefer these new working patterns as well.
This paper aims to analyse at what extent Apple Corporation, US multinational company producing consumer electronics, computer software and personal computers is fulfilling its need to adapt to changes in its workforce. Specifically, the paper will analyse four major changes in workforce which are ageing workforce, diversity of the workforce, flexibility of the workforce, and changes in training and development needs.

Ageing Workforce
Ageing workforce is one of the major problems US, European counties, Russia and a range of other countries face. Boone and Kurtz (2009) inform that by 2030 the number of Americans above the age of 65 will double and reach 72 million people, representing almost 20 per cent of US population. People who were born in the period of ‘baby boom’ after the second world war are approaching their retirement age with no enough young people to replace them in their job positions and this fact is creating problems in many levels.
Management at Apple corporation totally comprehend the issues related to the ageing workforce and therefore have implemented a set of programs and initiatives that are aimed to minimise the negative effect of this problem. The initiatives have been undertaken within company that offer more flexibility for ageing workforce in terms of offering them part-time jobs or working from home.
Moreover, all of the workers are encouraged to lead healthy lifestyle in the company, and only full-time workers were covered by medical insurance by the company until recently, but Apple announced start from the beginning of January 2010, all part-time members of staff will get medical insurance that will cost $8,000 per year per employee with the additional annual bill of $80 million for the company (Lane, 2010).

Diversity of the Workforce
Because of the forces of globalisation, the workforces in organisations have become more diverse in terms of nationality, ethnic origin, lifestyle, sexual orientation etc. The companies that allow these differences among the workforce to become reason for disagreements and misunderstandings will fail in the marketplace.
Apple has been acknowledged as a company where the diversity among the workforce is seen as a source of competitive edge due to the fact that diverse employees offer different perspectives on existing issues. Brostoff (2009) inform that Human Rights Campaign Group has added Apple to the list of 274 major companies that have created fair opportunities for joining the companies and making a career for GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexuals) minority group representatives.
Not only the rights of GLBT minority, but also the representatives of other minority groups on the basis of ethnic origin, race, and age are treated fairly and offered equal opportunities as well.
Gitman and McDaniel (2008) mention a survey of Apple employees conducted by Vault research firm in 2005, that identified that Apple employees were generally pleased with the opportunities for advancements for company’s diverse workforce.

Boone, LE & Kurtz, DL, 2009, Contemporary Business: 2009 Update, Cengage Brain
Brostoff, MJ, 2009, Straight Jobs, Gay Lives: Sexual Orientation and Career Decision Making, Kelley School of Business, USA
Gitman, LJ & McDaniel, C, 2008, The Future of Business: The Essentials, Cengage Brain
Lane, S, 2010, Apple to Extend Full Health Benefits to It’s Part-Time Staff, Apple Insider, Available at: Accessed, November 20, 2010.

Category: HRM