Workforce Diversity

Diversity in the field of HRM can be defined as the situation that arises when employees differ from each other in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, education etc. Workforce diversity means that organizations are becoming more heterogeneous in terms of age, gender, race ethnicity etc.

Composition: The composition of the workforce is changing in India. Young, skilled and knowledgeable employees are occupying positions of importance. At the same time thanks to the opening up of the private sector, employees are no more fascinated by secure, less paying routine and standardized jobs offered by the public sector (barring companies like BHEL, NTPC etc). and other government owned and controlled organizations. Old employees have grown in number now, thanks to the improved medical and health care. Big private sector firms have been exploiting their talents to conceive, operate and develop new ventures in emerging areas such as oil, telecom, insurance, banking, health care etc.

Organizations now cannot discriminate on the basis of age. They must listen to their experienced employees, to draw from their expertise and initiate programs. That meets these needs. McDonald’s a heavy recruiter of older workers has developed its masters programs in which newly hired seniors work along side experienced employees so that in a matter of four weeks they can turn lose to work on their own. The training program is meant to help seniors unlearn old behaviors while acquiring new skills. At the same time companies have to understand and appreciate the changing values of the young workers who join the company with a lot of expectations. The days of lifetime employment, total loyalty to company and commitment to work seems to be a thing of the past. To attract and retain young brains, organizations have to institute appropriate HR policies, supported by attractive compensation offers.

Local and Government Factors:

Governments all over the world had neither the time nor the interest to care for the problems pertaining to labor arising in industry till the end of 1940s. But the need for Governmental interference arose out of the belief that Government is the custodian of industrial and economic activities. The emergence of problems on the industrial front in the form of trade union movement, failure of many employers to deal fairly with workers non fulfillment of plan targets and the like forced the governments to intervene in human resources management and to enacts various pieces of labor legislation. Consequently the Government of India too has come out with a complex set of rules and regulations on the employment policy of the organizations by reserving a certain number of jobs of all categories to certain sections of the community. Hence the management cannot manage the personnel unilaterally as it used to do, because it has to abide by the rules and regulations imposed by the Government from time to time.

One of most important external factors that affects the HRM is the legal environment i.e. awareness of legislations enacted by the government at the Center and the States. The important legislations enacted in India affecting HRM are: Factories Act, 1948; Trade Unions Act, 1926; The Payment of Wages Act, 1936; The Minimum Wages Act, 1948; The Employment State Insurance Act, 1948; Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 ; The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965; The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946; The Employment Exchange (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959; Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972; The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961; The Apprentice Act, 1961 etc.


Unions have also gained strength after the advent of industrial revolution. At present these organizations constitute one of the power blocs in many countries, including India. With the formation and recognition of these organizations, the issues relating to employee interests are no longer determined by the unilateral actions of management. These have to be invariably discussed with union representatives. In addition unions have shifted their emphasis from economic tactics to the political pressures. Thus the unions have turned increasingly to governmental action as a means of achieving their objectives in addition to using the more traditional actions. In consequence the scope of managerial discretion in human resource activities has been narrowed down.

Source: HRM Hari Krishna