Valuing diversity is good for business!

Leitura de 5min

Our objective is to move forward in developing policies for valuing diversity and fighting discrimination.

This March, we launched the JLL’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. For the launch event, we invited specialists on the topic, such as Reinaldo Bulgarelli, from Txai Consultoria e Educação, and Guilherme Bara, from Fundação Espaço ECO, who helped us to reflect on these issues.

In addition to being the Managing Partner of Txai Consultoria e Educação—a company focused on sustainability and social responsibility, human rights, valuing diversity, community relations, social investment, and corporate volunteering—Reinaldo is a coordinator and instructor at schools such as FGV, FIA, and Unicamp.

In this interview with Panorama, Reinaldo, author of the book We’re All Diverse—valuing, promoting, and managing diversity in organizations, talks about the reality of inclusion in the corporate environment and why this topic is important for the economy and for the country.

Panorama – Brazil is still considered a “late country” on the issue of Diversity and Inclusion. What is the data that indicates this delay and shows the inequality (on the issue of women, blacks, disabled people, etc.)?

Reinaldo Bulgarelli – In the corporate environment, we have data that shows an absence of women, blacks, and disabled people, for example, in the foundation of the companies, as we can see in the study carried out by the Ethos Institute and by the IDB, released in 2016, with the 500 Largest Companies (read Where are they?, below).

When we look at the top, this absence intensifies. Blacks represent 53% of the Brazilian population and women represent 52%. Therefore, we have a serious problem of discrimination that isn’t support by this talk lack of qualifications, because the distance in access to better positions in the company is much greater than the distance between whites and blacks in access to education. In the case of women, the situation is even more serious, because women have long been ahead in number of years of study.

We believe that there is worrying delay because we have a society that is very violent against black, especially the younger ones, against LGBT people, and against women. The overall data on violence shows that we have a serious problem that fully affects diversity.

Panorama – How can companies help to value diversity and speed up inclusion? How does inclusion add value to business?

Reinaldo Bulgarelli – Companies have an important role of breaking the vicious cycle of exclusion. The example of inclusion of disabled professionals has demonstrated the impact on these people’s self-esteem, improvement in their relations with their own families, with the school, with means of transportation, and the world of recreation and tourisms, among many other spaces that start responding positively.

It is evident that keeping a significant part of society excluded—in this example we are talking about nearly 25% of the population that has some kind of disability—causes harm to the people, the business, and society. The opposite, the inclusion effect, has positive impacts on the economy and the quality of the solutions offered by the companies in their products, services, customer service, and many other aspects.

By valuing diversity and making explicit commitments on the topic, companies have worked to raise the cultural level of such a violent society and start mobilizing toward more positive horizons.

Panorama – What is the role of the school/education for the transformation of this reality?

Reinaldo Bulgarelli – The organizations maintain a relationship of interdependence, and we have seen that inclusion in the corporate environment has a strong impact on the world of education. In the other direction, unfortunately, there has not been the same result. Blacks, for various reasons, including quotas at public universities at an excellent educational level, are not finding opportunities in the job market, similar to what happens with women, who are nearly 60% of university-educated Brazilians.

The school has an important role that isn’t related only to increasing the number of years of study of certain segments of the population. The coexistence between all the respectful, safe, fair, and inclusive environments prepares all people for a more sustainable society and a job market that is more evolved on this issue.

We need people, all of them, who are prepared to recognize value in diversity and interact in an open, creative, and innovative way. The school can generate this essential learning for the 21st century.

Where are they?

In its sixth edition, the Social, racial, and gender profile of Brazil’s 500 largest companies and their affirmative actions—a study carried out by the Ethos Institute and the IDB—shows that as you go up in hierarchical level, the presence of women, blacks, and disabled people diminishes considperfil500maioreserably.

Women, for example, who have a majority share in the contingent of apprentices (55.9%) and interns (58.9%) end up being a minority at the next levels. Their presence represents only 31.3% of management positions and 13.6% of the executive team. Only 11% of Board of Directors members are women.

Blacks are a majority only for apprentices (57.5%) and among trainees (58.2%). At the intern level, this proportion falls to 28.8%, dropping to 6.3% for management, 4.7% for the executive team, and 4.9% for the Board of Directors.

The rates for people with disabilities are even more concerning: they represent 2.33% of the staff. At all levels, from apprentices to executives, their share is less than 1%. There is no record in this survey of the presence of a disabled person on a Board of Directors.