In the last decades, globalization, job mobility and demographic changes have produced a working environment in Europe that is more and more diverse in terms of ethnic groups, cultures, and languages. Consequently, diversity management has become – or should become – an important practice of human resource management in most European countries, as it is already elsewhere (e.g. USA). This is particularly the case of Italy, which has experienced an increase in ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity in its workforce as a consequence of immigration flows that have taken place in the last thirty years. This diversity is particularly visible in the tertiary sector, where the vast majority of foreign people are employed. The present paper is indented to answer two main questions: “Do Italian companies recognize that their workforce is more diverse than in the past? If so, how do they manage the increased diversity in their workplace?”. To this end, the paper takes a qualitative approach by focusing on one specific sector, namely the contract catering sector, which is generally comprised the “Other Food Service Activities” (NACE CODE Rev. 2: 56.29) (Eurostat, 2008). This sector has been chosen for two main reasons. It is one of the sectors already experiencing the increase in ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity in the composition of its workforce. Indeed, by usually employing a young, female and temporary workforce, it has a significant percentage of foreign people among its workers. Secondly, taking a look at future trends, this sector is forseen to draw more on the pool of migrant workers as a consequence of labour shortages caused by the ageing of the population. Therefore, the increase in diversity is likely to continue in the coming decades, urgingadequate consideration today.. By starting with the review of the main theories formulated in the field of diversity management, which represent the theoretical framework, the paper will present the main findings resulting from the interviews carried out in two companies operating in the Italian contract catering sector in order to assess whether these companies recognize the on-going change and how they are managing their more diverse workforce or foresee to do in the coming years. The smaller number of the companies interviewed is compensated for the fact that these two companies are among the top four companies representing the largest share of the market in Italy (34%) which make the findings more significant (GIRA, 2012). The analysis of the questionnaires responses lead us to conclude that companies operating in the Italian contract catering sector recognize that their workforce is more diverse than in the past. However, diversity is differently conceived. Despite dealing with the same labour market and economic context, the response to diversity given by the national company is different from that given by the company operating in Italy but belonging to a foreign multinational corporation. Only in the second case diversity is included among the core values and action plans, supported by a strong organizational culture recognizing and valuing diversity, enhanced through training and all other human resources practicies. Therefore, some diversity management initiatives/programmes/policies can be identified in the Italian contract catering sector but they must be further disseminated in order to make the sector a better place for a diverse workforce.

Diversity Management in the Italian Contract Catering Sector: Evidence from Two Companies / Pilati, Massimo; Sperotti, Francesca. - STAMPA. - (2015), pp. 219-248.

Diversity Management in the Italian Contract Catering Sector: Evidence from Two Companies

PILATI, Massimo;
2015

Abstract

In the last decades, globalization, job mobility and demographic changes have produced a working environment in Europe that is more and more diverse in terms of ethnic groups, cultures, and languages. Consequently, diversity management has become – or should become – an important practice of human resource management in most European countries, as it is already elsewhere (e.g. USA). This is particularly the case of Italy, which has experienced an increase in ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity in its workforce as a consequence of immigration flows that have taken place in the last thirty years. This diversity is particularly visible in the tertiary sector, where the vast majority of foreign people are employed. The present paper is indented to answer two main questions: “Do Italian companies recognize that their workforce is more diverse than in the past? If so, how do they manage the increased diversity in their workplace?”. To this end, the paper takes a qualitative approach by focusing on one specific sector, namely the contract catering sector, which is generally comprised the “Other Food Service Activities” (NACE CODE Rev. 2: 56.29) (Eurostat, 2008). This sector has been chosen for two main reasons. It is one of the sectors already experiencing the increase in ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity in the composition of its workforce. Indeed, by usually employing a young, female and temporary workforce, it has a significant percentage of foreign people among its workers. Secondly, taking a look at future trends, this sector is forseen to draw more on the pool of migrant workers as a consequence of labour shortages caused by the ageing of the population. Therefore, the increase in diversity is likely to continue in the coming decades, urgingadequate consideration today.. By starting with the review of the main theories formulated in the field of diversity management, which represent the theoretical framework, the paper will present the main findings resulting from the interviews carried out in two companies operating in the Italian contract catering sector in order to assess whether these companies recognize the on-going change and how they are managing their more diverse workforce or foresee to do in the coming years. The smaller number of the companies interviewed is compensated for the fact that these two companies are among the top four companies representing the largest share of the market in Italy (34%) which make the findings more significant (GIRA, 2012). The analysis of the questionnaires responses lead us to conclude that companies operating in the Italian contract catering sector recognize that their workforce is more diverse than in the past. However, diversity is differently conceived. Despite dealing with the same labour market and economic context, the response to diversity given by the national company is different from that given by the company operating in Italy but belonging to a foreign multinational corporation. Only in the second case diversity is included among the core values and action plans, supported by a strong organizational culture recognizing and valuing diversity, enhanced through training and all other human resources practicies. Therefore, some diversity management initiatives/programmes/policies can be identified in the Italian contract catering sector but they must be further disseminated in order to make the sector a better place for a diverse workforce.
How Global Migration Changes the Workforce Diversity Equation
Pilati, Massimo; Sheikh, Hina; Sperotti,Francesca; Tilly, Chris
1443874388
9781443874380
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
GBR
Diversity Management in the Italian Contract Catering Sector: Evidence from Two Companies / Pilati, Massimo; Sperotti, Francesca. - STAMPA. - (2015), pp. 219-248.
Pilati, Massimo; Sperotti, Francesca
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11380/1114462
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