Are future generations ready to make a change in the actual structure of Parity and Diversity in organizations?

We are supposed to be training our students today to introduce parity and diversity in tomorrow’s world. We actually discuss a lot about the difference between salary and gender discrimination and of course the famous glass-ceiling.

Nevertheless, what is really happening in terms of “social reproduction”? Let me tell you a short story: during an exercise in a management class in a business school, 4 groups of around 30 students composed of 67% of female participants and 33% of males participants were ask to respond to the following task: they should use modelling-clay to design the “perfect employee” for an IT job offer. The naïve subjects were told that the objective of the experience was using the m-clay to best reflect the personality of the “perfect employee” which they also needed to define on small piece of paper. The information requested for the description was the following one: name, sex, education, nationality, work experience and some qualities and weaknesses.


The results where surprising: Around 80% of students selected “Male” as gender for their “perfect employee” concerning the position offered (remember, around 67% were female participants). And the nationalities often recalled were: Germany, USA, and GB (what about diversity?).

World views, anyone?

Interesting story, Andres! How old were the people in question? And where is this school? In my experience, a certain kind of working environment shatters stereotypes. You start collaborating with brilliant college dropouts, single mothers on benefits, even (as in my other example) mentally ill people and they do a great job. What gives?

But of course, before you can make those experience you are going to go with the stereotypes you are fed. This is consistent with your finding of  “perfect for IT = American male”: that could be the Steve Jobs/Sergei Brin/Larry Page stereotype working its magic on those who actually know little about IT (the best hackers tend to be Russians; Israel, Taiwan and Italy have great engineering cultures etc.)

Good point


The subjects were all business school students from and international school in France. Multiple nationalities, and the group age was between 19 and 22 years old. All from generation “Y” which is the one supposed to me managing companies in the future.


Clueless, but still…

International school? Hmmm, quite bad. At that age they would not have had the time to make their own work experiences, but certainlyit seems that the school itself was not being very effective in immunizing them against the stereotypes.

it is really quite sad that a brilliant young woman of 20, from - say - Austria should think by default that the ideal IT employee is male and American.

A little training

I guess that if you are trained in recruitment or in HR management you just tend to apply what you think is good. The results might change with a little training on Parity and Diversity.

No mention of this!

You made no mention of being trained in HR! So you are right of course, but the problem then shifts to why would you think something is good. I am sure the school does not teach that American males are good for ITs (if it does, Houston, we have a problem).

I’m intrigued, what does this tell us then? That young people were not properly socialized into diversity or parity, or that those young people in HR have a particular education that’s not compatible with these concepts? And if so, how could that change? Do you think is a specific case or that it has wider roots?

Noemi, and thanks for following me Andres!


Dear Noemi,

We can not really draw any conclusions yet! The sample was too small (around 200 subjects). Nevertheless, the experience could be repeated with a larger sample to test the validity. The hypothesis will be that young generations are being trained to increase parity and diversity in the work place but stereotypes persist maybe because of a high number of social and psychological factors that shape our society as it actually is. Examples: tradition and education,   historical roots of culture and civilisation, conciliation between private and professional life, among others.