Study: US workers value training more than diversity programs

Minority employees said they were more likely to go back to school to get a new or higher degree, and more wanted to own their own businesses than white counterparts.

NEW YORK: US workers said the most important initiatives a company can implement are employee training and growth programs, trumping diversity actions, according to research released this week by Finn Futures.  

It also found staffers value recruiting and retention and working individually more than inclusion programs. One-third (33%) of those surveyed ranked growth opportunities as a top priority, while 55% placed it in the top two preferences.

Minority employees who answered the survey said investing in employees, providing flexible work environments, and recruitment were the top three. Diversity programs ranked fifth.

"We find this particular result to be very thought-provoking: even minority workers felt that enrichment programs were more important than diversity training," said Peter Finn, founder and managing partner of Finn Partners. "While this may be counterintuitive, it indicates that all employees have consistent and definite priorities when it comes to programs and training that support career advancement."

However, he noted that the PR industry should embrace diversity programs.

"And while diversity training may not be as important as other employee programs to workers, we in the PR industry still need to place a premium on inclusion and building diversity in the human resources pipeline in order to fully leverage talent and ideas from employees of all backgrounds," Finn said.

The survey also found that more than half of US workers, or 52%, would prefer to work individually, while only one-third favored collaboration – a deviation from the corporate trend toward building more collaborative work environments.

More than half of American workers (54%) said they would prefer to own their own businesses. More specifically, 63% of workers under the age of 45, 67% of Millennials, and 44% of those over age 45 said owning their own businesses would be the best type of employment.

For minority staffers, the desire to own their own businesses was even stronger than their white counterparts, with 63% preferring this scenario.

Minority workers also believe more strongly than white counterparts that it is worthwhile to go back to school to earn a different or higher degree, 71% to 49%. A majority of non-whites said they strongly agree with the statement, "Going back to school to earn a different or higher degree is worthwhile."

Finn Futures is a series of research released by Finn Partners’ polling and research division. It conducted an online poll of 1,000 US adults from November 8-17, with the data weighted slightly to ensure it was representative of the US population.

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