The Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon has written an open letter to employers around the country to endorse and encourage the hiring of a diverse workforce.
Mr Foon’s letter came after engagements with members from a number of communities who faced challenges finding employment or re-entering the workforce. The commissioner said it was important to consider the valuable insights and connections people could bring to the table.
“It is important that employers consider potential employees based on the merits of their qualities and competencies, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or anything else,” Mr Foon wrote.
The commissioner said the one group he had held discussions with were members of the migrant community who deserved to be treated with fairness and given equal employment opportunities.
“Some may not have local experience, but they can bring international expertise, fresh ideas and skills that nourish our nation as it grows and develops.
“Having diversity among your staff could open doors to create and deliver to new groups, with minority communities more willing to engage when they feel represented.”
Mr Foon pointed out that as a New Zealand born Chinese, he had served Aotearoa New Zealand in various roles and believed he added value throughout his long public service career.
However, he said diversity didn’t just relate to ethnicity but could include people with disabilities and members of the LGBTGI+ community for example.
“Diversity also encourages creativity and new ideas and helps increase social inclusion and cohesion.”
He pointed out research indicated diversity of thought and experience could increase organisational well-being and business profit, in the right environment.
“Inclusion is well known to boost morale, and engagement can mean higher productivity and lower staff turnover.”
Mr Foon reminded the public that the right to work was a fundamental human right which recognised that work has the potential to satisfy social, intellectual, and personal needs and therefore is integral for a dignified life.