7 Types of Diversity & How To Understand Them

Types of Diversity & How To Understand Them (Image Source: Shutterstock)

What Are the Different Types of Diversity?

There are many different types of diversity you might encounter in the workplace or in your personal life. These diversity types have different impacts on personal and professional encounters alike.

1. Cultural Diversity

Cultural diversity includes the characteristics, ideals, and tendencies of cultural populations. For example, there are cultural differences between the United States and the United Kingdom, despite their similarities relative to other countries.

  • Differences in behavior
  • Differences in ideology
  • Differences in language

2. Sex Diversity

Sex diversity is one of the most important types. It refers to the diverseness of male vs. female people in a social group or work environment. Sex diversity is important politically and practically. For example, a crash test company that only hires male employees might find that they design seatbelts and other safety features for people with male bodies.

3. Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Diversity

Also important is gender identity and sexual orientation diversity, which sometimes (but not always) overlap. Gender identity affects whether one identifies as a man, woman, or non-binary. Sexual orientation affects whether a person is heterosexual, homosexual, asexual, or something else.

  • Companies don’t discriminate against sexual or gender identity minorities, such as LGBTQ+ people, during the hiring process or in the workplace
  • Members of sexual or gender identity minorities are represented in media and elsewhere

4. Ethnic Diversity

Ethnic diversity refers to any diversity in terms of ethnicity or what has historically been referred to as “race,” which is often more of a cultural idea than a genetically backed one. Ethnic diversity or racial diversity can include:

  • Diversity in skin color
  • Diversity in regional populations

5. Religious Diversity

The idea of religious diversity includes any diversity originating from religious beliefs, such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and other religions. In addition, it includes freedom from religion, such as among atheists or people who are more secular about their spirituality. Workplaces need to consider diversity in spiritual beliefs and worldviews so that they don’t unintentionally discriminate against one religion or another.

6. Ability Diversity

Ability diversity refers to differences in ability, both physical abilities, and mental abilities, between population members or workplaces. Workplaces are prohibited from discriminating against differently-abled people, such as people with paraplegia or other disabilities.

7. Diversity in Socioeconomic Background

Finally is diversity through socioeconomic background or the wealth-based places people hold in society. Socioeconomic status or background can affect a wide range of behaviors and ideas, including:

  • How someone talks
  • How someone spends or saves their money
  • How someone thinks about money

What Are the Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace and Elsewhere?

Now that you understand the different types of diversity, it’s important to reflect on the major benefits you’ll see if you focus on cultivating a diverse workforce of multiple demographics or within your personal life.

Improved Awareness of Oneself

For starters, increased diversity also leads to improved awareness of oneself. When you surround yourself with people different from you, you learn to recognize your flaws and merits with more clarity.

Better Workplace Acceptance

Increasing diversity leads to greater acceptance of POC or other minorities in the workplace. This, in turn, makes your workplace a more welcoming organization for people of all types.

Improvements in Productivity

The above benefit ties into the major economic benefit of diversity for companies: more productivity and, therefore, more profits. By making your workplace more attractive to the best talent regardless of who they are, you’ll:

  • See improvements to workplace output
  • Create more original ideas and see your business benefit from unique problem-solving skills
  • Serve a wider audience


Overall, increasing diversity leads to reduced unconscious bias among team members, better work results from drawing talent across different backgrounds, and many more benefits from incorporating different perspectives from diverse teams.



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