Virtual Museum of Public Service

Diversity in Public Service: D-1

"If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity."
 
- John F. Kennedy 
 
 Age, economic, educational, ethnic, gender and racial diversity are important issues playing out at every level of the civic sphere. Changes in demographic characteristics of populations necessitate appropriate diversification in the public service workforce in order to build a more egalitarian society.   Wherever possible, administrators in every public organization responsible for the delivery of public goods and services should ideally reflect the composition of the populations that they serve. The same applies to firefighters, and law enforcement officers and other front-line employees in the public service such as nurses, teachers, and public transportation employees.
 
Reflecting the diversity of the population in the public workforce communicates to the public that their interests are being understood because people very much like them will be the ones assisting and interacting with them regarding their concerns and applications for public service. There is a general belief that people feel most comfortable with people just like themselves and expect to be better understood by their own kind.
 
Another important reason for diversity in public service is that it imports diverse perspectives on issues and therefore diverse approaches to problem solving and conflict resolution. Diversity in public service also fosters collaboration and cooperation across the different groups that comprise the population.