Blockchain for Diversity Data
Our global financial system facilitates trillions of dollars in financial capital, and the need for financial reporting in improving transparency, tax compliance and decision making is well established. As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, non-traditional assets such as workplace diversity and organisational values will become increasingly important.
In June 2017, more than 150 CEOs from some of the world’s leading companies announced the ‘CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion’ initiative, where companies publicly pledged to take collective action to support more diverse and inclusive workplaces. Research suggests that diversity increases creativity and innovation, which leads to better business outcomes and higher economic growth.
While most organisations and publicly listed companies are required to disclose their financial position, detailed data on workforce composition and career progression is limited and cannot be easily verified. As our governments continue to address gender and diversity pay gaps, the need for workforce disclosure grows. Just as we value the integrity of our tax and financial systems, there is an increasing recognition of the value of inclusive workplace environments.
As new digital technologies, such as blockchain, play a prominent role in addressing issues around transparency, accessibility and efficiency in financial markets, they may also prove crucial in providing significant benefits to workforce diversity and career progression.
For the first time the idea of a ‘workforce distributed ledger’, where organisations have the opportunity to disclose their workforce demographic profile while still preserving individual privacy, is put forward. A blockchain solution, including ‘Smart Employment Contracts’, may provide a mechanism where employers and employees are able to share, update and track workforce and career progression data so that parties benefit from greater transparency.
Governments and businesses around the world are investing millions of dollars in finding new ways to enable underrepresented groups to gain meaningful employment and reach higher individual and organisational potential. New insights into workforce demographics may inform existing strategies by providing a better understanding of the barriers for these groups.
A ‘Workforce Demographic Blockchain’ has the potential to fundamentally change how diversity and inclusion is viewed in labour markets. Releasing aggregated open workforce data would allow organisations to be more accountable to their stated diversity targets, and individuals would have more information on whether an organisation’s values align with their own.
By encouraging, or even regulating, companies to disclose their workforce demographic data not only is there a possibility for greater efficiencies in the labour market through reduced turnover, our society would also be demonstrating that non-traditional assets such as diversity are valued appropriately.
As we move into a world of increased connectivity and transparency, a distributed ‘Workforce Demographic Blockchain’ with ‘Smart Employment Contracts’ may be the way of the future and contribute towards equality in the workplace.
Disclaimer: Views presented belong to the author and are not necessarily those of any Government.
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About Dr. Audrey Lobo-Pulo
Dr. Audrey Lobo-Pulo is the founder of Phoensight and supports open government and open source sofware for policy modelling. Having started out as a physicist in fibre optics for high speed data transmission, she moved to economic and social policy modelling and has worked for the Australian Government for over 10 years.
Audrey’s passion is using new thinking based on emerging technologies to view social and policy issues through a different lens. She believes in the blending of multidisciplinary skills for a more fulfilled vision of our future.
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