Diversity in the public sector is nowadays a reality and a necessity. Workforce diversity can be a strong contributor to innovation, organisational performance and trust in public institutions, when this diversity is managed in a way that builds inclusion. But diversity can be a double-edged sword. If not managed, diversity can result in lower levels of social integration, worse communication and conflict which can deteriorate performance.
OECD work on diversity and inclusion
The aim of OECD work on diversity in public employment is to identify practices that build an inclusive workplace culture. Inclusive workplaces mean that people feel connected and engaged to the organization. Transitioning from a diverse workforce to an inclusive workplace requires significant effort from those who lead organisations, establish HRM policies and practices, manage teams, recruit employees and contribute to organisational culture. This implies the need for a different kind of management – a diversity management.
Managing a diverse public administration and effectively responding to the needs of a more diverse workforce presents quantitative and qualitative data collected through a survey administered by the OECD in the summer of 2015 to EUPAN members. Twenty-six EU member states took part in the survey. The goal of the survey was to provide an improved understanding of the approaches taken by EU member states to manage diversity within their central public administrations.
Gender Equality in Public Life (GEPL)
The GEPL Recommendation brings forward policy options to boost equal access to public life, including politics, judiciaries, and public administrations for women and men from diverse backgrounds. It promotes a “whole-of-government’’ and “whole-of-society” approach to quash gender-stereotypes, encourage women to participate in public life and remove implicit and explicit barriers impeding gender equality.
In the past decades, OECD countries made important progress in closing the gender divide in public life. Women’s participation has been increasing in middle/senior management levels in many OECD countries. While women make up approximately 50% of public employment across OECD countries, they occupy only 27% of top management positions in 2011, the last time the OECD collected this data.