What are the most diverse industries in the US, and is your company in one of them? Diversity and inclusion are two words you may be hearing more of in recent years. Because there is a recent emphasis on them across the country. Some think diversity is simply about race. In actuality, it’s also about gender, educational levels, cultural beliefs, and socio-economic upbringing. As companies address these issues, they flourish in both profitability and employee satisfaction.
So, what are some of the most diverse industries in the US?
The retail industry encompasses many types of stores and retail sales businesses. Warehousing and distribution are often included in this industry group. While each has its distinctiveness, they all tend to be quite diverse in employee makeup. Much of this diversity is due to the sheer size of the industry, and that it touches all corners of the country. Rural America and dense cities alike all employ a wide variety of ethnicities, ages, and genders from a broad range of backgrounds. The retail industry includes:
- General retail stores
- Online shopping and ecommerce
- Mail order and catalog businesses
- Specialty stores such as clothing and shoes
- Warehousing and storage
The transportation industry includes businesses that transport customers or products. The rideshare industries created by companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Doordash are also part of this industry. Regulated taxi and limousine services employee over 700,000 people, and only slightly more than half are white. Public transit services, such as bus drivers, have the largest concentration of African American workers, at just over 31%.
- Passenger and cargo airline
- Transit: Taxi and limo services, bus
- Postal service
- Messengers and deliveries
The medical industry has an extensive history of hiring diverse candidates. The nursing field alone is 67% women and over 30% of healthcare workers are not Caucasian. Healthcare in general is spread across all regions of the country and it is making strides to hire from broader cultural backgrounds.
- Home health care
Travel, leisure, recreation, hospitality
This is a large industry that is quite diverse, in part due to its sheer size. The hospitality section alone includes hotels and motels, and caters to both businesses and individuals. Over 30% of employees in this industry group are Hispanic. The most common positions are cleaning, cooking, servers, and security.
- Lodging and accommodations
- Vacation destinations/theme parks
- Restaurant and hospitality
- Leisure and recreation
Traditionally, financial service businesses were dominated by white males. This has been changing fast over the last several years, as businesses in this industry strive to attract talent from broader backgrounds. Professional and financial service industries employ a much higher ratio of women in recent years. They’re also hiring from a broader range of education majors and backgrounds. The goal is to bring diverse skills into the industry and close the gender gap.
Equipment service, repair, parts
This diverse industry group includes many different skilled trades. From general service technicians for ATM machines and manufacturing equipment, to automotive technicians, to computer repair. The computer field alone is comprised of 29% Asian Americans. It employs men and women as software engineers, component manufacturers, and hardware engineers.
- Equipment rental/leasing
- Automobile repair
- Electronic repair
- Machinery maintenance
- Cell tower repair
Like retail, personal service businesses are spread wide and far into every geographic region of the country. Some statistics show over 600,000 people work in a service-related industry. White and Asian ethnicities make up 85- 90% of the workforce, with the remainder being Latino or African American. And, at over 46% of the workforce, nail salons are predominantly Asian workers.
- Nail and hair salon workers provide beauty services to individuals.
- Barbershops provide haircuts, primarily to men.
- Security services are predominantly African American in many parts of the country.
- Laundry and dry-cleaning is comprised of almost 32% Hispanic workers.
As more industries are making great strides to improve diversity, there is ample opportunity for job seekers and small businesses across the country. As a small business owner, you can help your industry be diverse. Start by closing the gender gap in your own industry. Consider candidates with educational backgrounds that aren’t normally considered in your field. Reach out to candidates in other areas of the country. The rich mixture of backgrounds, opinions, and views you create will only serve to help your business grow and thrive.