There’s more to it than just earning a salary
The world of work is changing rapidly, not only in terms of implementing new technologies, such as AI, but also when it comes to what younger generations see as their ideal job. ‘Stranger Skills,’ a research project conducted by PHD Italia – Omnicom Media Group's media, communications and marketing agency – analysed job seekers’ priorities, in an attempt to understand what the main fields of interest for marketing and communications professionals are. The field most frequently mentioned by respondents was the area of corporate inclusivity policies.
When we delve into the research, we see that for 60.8% of respondents ( and 66% of female participants), who were new to the professional world, the top priority in their search for the ideal workplace is a corporate commitment to equity, diversity & inclusion. Psychological and physical health, on the other hand, was ranked more highly than a high salary, while for 64.6% of participants, business ethics is among the most important variables when evaluating the companies they might work for.
The gender gap is still a widespread problem within corporate organisations. In fact, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2023, just 12.4% of women reach top positions. In Italy, which slipped in the World Economic Forum's ranking on gender equity from 63rd to 79th place, 8 out of 10 leadership roles are held by men. A survey by the associations SheTech and Ditto tried to take a snapshot of how this phenomenon is perceived: out of 600 female freelance workers, employees and entrepreneurs working in the field of technology, 69% think it is more difficult for them than for men to get ahead. Things do not change when we look at professional advancement: 84% of respondents believe that men are more likely to be promoted.
‘We could summarise,’ says Lorenzo Moltrasio, Managing Director of PHD Italy, ‘that there is more to it than the salary; employees want a 'psychological income' in addition to their regular salary; a job that involves the whole person, meets social needs and is meaningful and rewarding. Let us not forget that it is young people today who choose the company they want to work for, with unprecedented awareness. Companies must work to be attractive by rethinking their internal organisation. Research shows there is a strong demand for a focus on mental and physical health, and flexible work policies. There is a demand for leaders who value quality and talent, and whose decision-making is guided by ethical considerations. And there is a demand for inclusiveness at every level of decision-making, so every employee can grow by following his or her vocation.’
DE&I Managers play a strategic role in managing these variables. This position falls under the twelve professional roles outlined in the research. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Managers are responsible for promoting diversity and inclusion in all types of organisations. Their responsibility is to develop and implement programmes and policies that promote equality and equity for all employees, regardless of their cultural background, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or ability.
Thirty-four percent of respondents were interested in the role of DE&I Manager, as were 34% of companies and 43% of HR employees surveyed. This data shows us that this new role is increasingly valuable not only from the job seekers’ perspective, but also and especially for companies, which are coming to understand that an inclusive corporate culture is essential to attracting and retaining talent, improving productivity and stimulating innovation.
‘We are facing a scenario,’ Moltrasio explains, ‘that calls for a more balanced model within companies, which must commit to putting in place fairer selection policies, but working on the first part is not enough. Companies need to build organisational and welfare models that know how to integrate and retain new talent, ensuring pathways that encourage growth, fair wages, working on training, the confidence gap, and work-life balance. To guarantee that there is a psychological income, it is necessary to promote a system that facilitates inclusion, and managers who believe in the value of diversity.’