If you want to become a diversity consultant, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a diversity consultant:
• You are sensitive to differences in sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, age, physical and mental ability, and religion
• You enjoy taking responsibility for projects, and have tact and professionalism
• You have an interest in helping organizations create culturally diverse and inclusive workplaces
• You have the confidence to coach and counsel the employees and executive management of an organization
• You are interested in designing and implementing diversity education strategies
Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a diversity consultant. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, educational requirements, types of employers, and much more!
A diversity consultant (also known as a cultural diversity consultant, diversity specialist, diversity trainer or diversity advisor) is a professional with specialized knowledge of cultural diversity, specifically as it relates to various applications in the workplace. They may have a professional or academic background in human resources, management, labour relations, or a variety of other fields.
A diversity consultant is responsible for helping the executive management of an organization remove cultural barriers within that organization. Cultural barriers have many negative impacts on organizations, including productivity shortfalls, costly lawsuits, and the creation of a poor public image. Common types of cultural barriers that impact organizations include:
• The underutilization of workers from minority groups*
• Communication problems among different cultural groups
• Conducting business across cultures
Diversity consultants help remove underutilization barriers by helping management with both determining parity within their workforce, and developing the competencies needed to lead, manage, onboard, and train workers across cultures in order to remedy existing parity.
Diversity consultants help remove communication barriers by demonstrate to the employees and the leadership of the organization ways in which they can alter communication methods (such as body language and other techniques) in order to make people feel understood and respected.
Diversity consultants may help management gain the competence necessary to conduct business across cultures by teaching them about important business acumen that exists within different cultures.
*Minority groups may include individuals underrepresented by sex, gender, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age or religious beliefs, as well as individuals with a physical or mental disability.
Although the specific job duties of a diversity consultant vary based on the specific responsibilities of their job and their professional objectives within an organization, they are generally responsible for performing the following types of duties:
• Perform utilization comparison analysis in order to compare the sex and ethnicity of the workforce by job groups
• Perform statistical analysis of the workforce against the relevant labour market in order to determine whether or not parity exists
• Become knowledgeable about key cultural aspects of the organization
• Identify and assess the goals of the organization
• Help management develop goals related to achieving workforce balance
• Develop action-oriented steps to achieve the organization’s goal of eliminating underutilization
• Make recommendations to eliminate the underutilization of minority groups in the workforce
• Demonstrate to the leadership of the organization ways in which they can alter communication methods in order to make people feel understood and respected
• Show clients how to count on each other to affect change, as much as they count on the consultant
The educational requirements for becoming a diversity consultant can vary, and are directly related to the amount of relevant work experience you have.
For example, you may only need a bachelor’s degree to become a diversity consultant if you have a few, or several years of work experience in a human resources management or labour relations management capacity. Some employers however, may require that you have a master's degree in one of the following fields if you want to become a diversity consultant:
• Social work
• Instructional technology and training
• Human resource management
• Organizational development
Success Tip: Although not necessarily a requirement for working as a diversity consultant, there are also diversity training certification programs available in Canada and the United States. These programs will serve to increase your knowledge of workplace diversity issues, and make you more marketable to prospective employers. The curriculum of these programs typically cover topics such as organizational consulting, instructional design, assessment, and training organizational personnel.
In order to become effective in a career as a diversity consultant, and help organizations create an inclusive workplace culture, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:
• Able to teach communication techniques to management, such as terminology and body language, that help employees feel respected
• Able to design and implement methods to measure the inclusion, engagement and well-being of various diversity groups within an organization
• Able to diagnose organizational diversity-related competence gaps with an organization
• Able to teach organizations how attract the most talented recruits across cultures
• Able to design, develop and implement diversity education strategies
• Able to teach others to mediate conflicts between employees that stem from cultural differences
In order to enjoy performing the duties of a diversity consultant, you need to have certain personality traits. Taking enjoyment from your duties as a diversity consultant is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.
• Integrity and good judgment
• Tact and diplomacy
• Able to earn the trust and co-operation of managers, unions and employees
• Enjoy coaching and counselling managers and employees
• Enjoy taking responsibility for projects
• An interest in helping individual organizations creative inclusive workplace cultures
• Sensitivity to cultural differences, including differences in sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, physical and mental ability and religion
Diversity consultants may be employed on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis by virtually any type of organization, including:
• Small, medium and large private and public businesses across all industries
• Non-profit and not-for profit organizations
• Businesses and organizations that operate internationally
• The Armed Forces
• Colleges and universities
• Public and private schools
• Municipal, state/provincial and federal government departments
• Diversity consultancies
• Management consultancies
• Self-employment (working as a freelance consultant)
The salary level of diversity consultants can vary based on factors such as:
• Their level of education
• Their level of experience
• The size and type of their employer
• The region in which they work
There is no Canadian or American salary information available from reliable sources specifically for the career Diversity Consultant. We can however, get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the salary level of workers in closely related occupations.
Diversity Consultant Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Personnel and Recruitment Officers occupational group earn an average salary level of $76,964 per year.
Diversity Consultant Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the salary level of Canadian workers in the Specialists in Human Resources occupational group is $61,587 per year.
Diversity Consultant Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of American workers in the Human Resources Specialists and Labor Relations Specialists occupational group is $55,640 per year.
Diversity consultants play an important role in the workplace. They help develop diversity-related competence from the top-level of an organization downwards. This helps to create more inclusive and therefore productive organizations by:
• Helping organizations avoid costly discrimination-based lawsuits
• Helping employees avoid losing their jobs for saying or doing something that is considered culturally insensitive
• Helping employees feel appreciated and respected
• Helping organizations attract customers from different cultural groups in their market
• Helping organizations attract and retain top-level talent in a variety of roles
In addition to playing an important role in the workplace, diversity consultants play an important role in society as a whole. There are many societal woes that are caused due to a lack of understanding and respect among different groups of people.
Teaching people to understand and respect the different needs, expectations and potential of others, regardless of their differences, can have an impact well beyond cubicle walls. Diversity consultants create awareness and teach communication techniques, these are skills and competencies that can carry over from the workplace into people’s personal lives.
Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Diversity Consultant, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.
Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a diversity consultant.
Alberta Learning and Information Service website: alis.alberta.ca
Diversity Officer Magazine website: diversityofficermagazine.com
Mount Royal University website: www.mtroyal.ca
Service Canada website: www.servicecanada.gc.ca
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov
Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Diversity Consultant can be found using our Scholarships Finder.
Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!
Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a diversity consultant. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!