Diversity Managers: 10 Key Job Skills, Salary, and Required Education

diversity-san-francisco-1Managing a diverse workforce has become vital in a globalized business world. Diversity Managers and human resources professionals with related skills are in demand. According to Tech Republic:

While chief diversity and equality officers were rare a decade ago, today, about one in five Fortune 1000 companies have one. Airbnb, Dropbox, Pinterest, and Twitter have all filled diversity manager positions [Sept. 2016 – Sept. 2017].

The median salary for diversity managers is $77K a year and higher for leadership positions: sometimes called Diversity VPs, Diversity Recruiting Managers, or Diversity and Inclusion Officers.

Helping put an end to cultures of white privilege, sexual harassment, disability, and religious discrimination can be part of the motivation that brings people to this career. For many, a diversity management career is part of a larger passion to demonstrate the positive effects of ethical human resource practices on company outcomes. The field is dynamic and constantly changing. Managing Gender Transition in the Workplace is the most recent frontier in ensuring safety and equality among workers. For many, a diversity management career is part of a larger passion to demonstrate the positive effects of ethical human resource practices on company outcomes.

10 Diversity Job Skills

To be successful in this field, management-level diversity experts have to apply these 10 key job skills.

1. Recruiting

To succeed against global competition, companies must look beyond their own local areas and national boundaries for key resources and new markets. Globalization represents a tipping point for diversity company practices. According to Dr. Marianne Koch, Chair of GGU’s Human Resources degree programs, recruiting an international team or coordinating with an office in, say, Mumbai or Dublin, Ireland, is an important contribution a diversity manager can make.

This offshoring is also affecting the development of HR software. CIO’s senior writer contributed an excellent article on how human resource software startups, such as Jopwell, are promising that their solutions will help release pent-up diversity resources in the job market and let companies reap the business benefits of a diverse workforce. Public recognition of a company’s commitment to diversity can attract more candidates, in the case of top-ranked EY and second-place Kaiser Permanente, which is led by African-American and GGU Graduate Bernard J. Tyson.

2. Implementing a Diversity Initiative

Managing diversity requires a well thought out plan, crafted to fit specific organizational needs and conditions. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) describes the main phases of a diversity initiative as data collection, strategy-design to match business objectives, implementation, evaluation, and continuing audit of outcomes. For example, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer at SAP developed a three- to five-year corporate diversity strategy, focusing on, “gender intelligence, generational intelligence, cultures and identity, and differently-abled or disabled people.”

3. Data-Driven Practices

“For human resources professionals, data-driven results get the attention of the C-Suite,” says Dr. Koch. “It is a must for executive-level diversity experts.” Ji-A Min, head data scientist for Ideal.com, a company bringing AI to human resources software, says that the mandate for a diversity or equality officer is to “identify quantifiable, measurable diversity KPIs…for example… [to] equalize the pay between male and female employees of the same tenure, level, and performance within three months [and] demonstrate the ROI of workplace diversity by linking diversity data to business outcomes such as increased revenue.” Software solutions such as Payscale promise retention outcomes from data-driven salary management and can be used to analyze a diverse workforce. A Diversity Manager who can demonstrate quantitative results will be a step ahead of the competition.

 4. Communication

By many accounts, communication is the number-one skill needed in business, and this is particularly true in diversity management. This is a matter of language, nonverbal communication, personal physical space, religious convictions, or sexual or gender identity.

Emotional Intelligence — the ability handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically — is an important competency for a Diversity Professional.

S. Jamila Buckner (MS in HR Management, ’91)
Head of Human Resources, Golden Gate University

5. Leadership and Management

Diversity Managers have increasing responsibility and are often brought in at the VP level. Dr. Koch says: “Leading a diverse workforce requires knowledge of who one’s workers are and how they perceive themselves and want others to acknowledge them. An awareness of these things will bring out the best in the workforce as workers feel accepted and legitimate. It sets the tone, as well, for a culture of inclusion and respect.”

6. Training

Many companies choose to implement Learning and Development programs online. One sophisticated option is Law Room, which goes beyond a dry webinar or PowerPoint presentation and includes video scenarios–and invites trainees to reflect on what they have seen. It also dives into the complexities of reacting to a report of harassment that is consistent with the law and the experience of the reporting party. Live training opportunities are abundant in the San Francisco Bay area including the well-established Paradigm Consulting Group that provides ethics and compliance training.

7. Counseling and Advising

Interpersonal — sometimes included among “soft” skills — are in high demand for this career. Job sites such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn often list “counseling” and “advising” as necessary skills. Transitions are unsettling, and those of the old guard may need help adjusting their attitudes, behaviors, and practices to the newly diverse workplace. At the same time, new entrants into the workforce need support and encouragement. In fact, implementing Diversity Mentoring programs, according to Scientific American, can be one of the most successful ways to increase the amount of African-American, Latino / Latina, Asian (female and male), and white female managers at an organization—potentially by almost 40 percent.

For human resources professionals, data-driven results get the attention of the C-suite. 

Dr. Marianne Koch, Chair Human Resources degree programs
Golden Gate University

8. Knowing the Law

Legal and regulatory changes happen every year at the federal, state, and even local levels. In California, new 2017 regulations regarding transgender identity and expression include staff training. Companies with the best of intentions can still fail to meet their legal obligations unless they monitor changes and plan how to put them into practice.

9. Knowing One’s Prejudices

Blindspot approved.indd

James Wright, a Diversity and Inclusion Strategist, lists self-awareness as one of the Five Things to Know before Building a Career in Diversity and Inclusion. “Bias is a part of the human anatomy,” he says, citing the book Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People as valuable research.

10. Responding to Innovation

Innovation is often listed as a competency for Diversity Managers because they need to keep up how work is accomplished in a changing world — and how a diverse workforce is deployed to support strategic goals. Dr. Koch even gives the examples of working side-by-side with R2D2-like “nurses” that bring patients meds or the electronic sentinels at the new Amazon Go stores.

What education is needed?

Certificates and boot camps are always an option for getting your feet wet, but for executive or management positions, a master’s degree in human resources is often required.

For more information on what it takes to do this job look at the Society for Human Resource Management’s job description including functions and core competencies.

Photo credit: iStock/monkeybusiness

Request information about Human Resources certificates and degrees >>

Sexual Harassment Training and a Culture of Respect

By Marianne Koch, PhD
Associate Dean, Ageno School of Business

We are in the midst of a culture change (I hope!) at work.

We can start with sexual harassment training and related actions – empower the bystander; encourage civility; promote more women; and encourage reporting as a part of serious and frequent training (as Claire Cain Miller reports that research shows to work) – to begin the deeper work of bringing about a culture of respect at all levels of power in our organizations.

Sexual harassment is not just about unwanted behavior of a sexual nature; it’s about power. The nascent culture change that we are seeing has its origin in the uncovering of sexual harassment involving men of prestige, power, and positions of great authority. However, rooting out sexual harassment is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. We have to correct the imbalance of power and the bad behaviors that can come about due to that power imbalance.

Miller has written a useful piece on sexual harassment training that is full of good advice. How we might improve on not-so-great sexual harassment training that we all are regularly put through provides a starting place for ushering in a bigger change – a culture change – at work.

In our Master of Science in Human Resources program at Golden Gate University, we cover legal issues inherent in sexual harassment cases; additionally, we teach inclusion and ethical behavior in all our courses. Diversity issues come up naturally and often in our classes because of the growing diversity among workers in the Bay Area. We believe that how we manage people at work and the culture we support and inspire are the necessary elements of a workplace of respect for all.

Request information about GGU’s Human Resources master’s degree >>

Golden Gate University Ranked #1 in US for Adult Learners for Second Consecutive Year

For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly ranks Golden Gate University America’s #1 School for Adult Learners in its annual College Guide and Rankings.

How GGU Was Chosen

To compile the rankings, Washington Monthly reviewed data from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) survey, the department’s new College Scorecard database and the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges.

The metrics that determined GGU’s rating include:

  • ease of transfer/enrollment
  • flexibility of programs
  • services available for adult learners
  • percent of adult students (age 25+)
  • mean earnings of adult students ten years after entering college
  • loan repayment of adult students five years after entering repayment
  • tuition and fees for in-district students

Read the article in Washington Monthly >>

Free Event: Mastering Human Resource Management for Small Businesses & Startups

Small businesses and startups need more than just profits or investors to keep growing. Finding the right people to help them realize their vision is paramount. Unfortunately, human resources rules and regulations have to be considered and can be a barrier to moving forward. If you want to hire the very best people without a hassle, we invite you to hear from a panel of HR experts at a free GGU event: Mastering Human Resource Management for Small Businesses & Startups. Hosted by GGU’s Ageno School of Busines, the event is open to GGU students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general public.

The event will be s. A networking opportunity and refreshments will follow the panel presentation.

Mastering Human Resource Management
for Small Businesses & Startups

Thursday, July 27th
Golden Gate University [map], Rm. 5200-5202
RSVP for this free event >>


Katya Korepanova is an alumna of GGU’s Master of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program and currently leads HR and Culture at Leanplum—where she builds culture, onboarding, employee relations, and benefits programs. Leanplum is the most complete mobile marketing platform, designed for intelligent action. Their integrated solution delivers meaningful engagement across messaging and the in-app experience. Leanplum offers Messaging, Automation, App Editing, Personalization, A/B Testing, and Analytics.

Doug Devlin is an alumnus of the GGU Master of Business Administration program and CEO of Zuman. Zuman was founded in 2012 with a simple mission: to transform the people operations experience and help employees grow their companies. Zuman provides the premium single-source cloud solution for human resources, payroll, benefits administration, and talent management for better people operations.

Meet our moderator

LouAnn Conner is the Director of the Small Business Program at GGU, where she develops and leads programs supporting the success of up-and-coming small businesses. The proud recipient of Outstanding GGU Adjunct of 2015, LouAnn is Founder of SagaciousThink, LLC. LouAnn teaches a variety of courses in International Business and Strategy, Context of Business, Managerial Analysis and Team Dynamics and Entrepreneurship.

Again, this event is absolutely free and we invite you to register online.

Video: Why Go to Business School in San Francisco?

Golden Gate University is located in downtown San Francisco in the heart of the Financial District. In this video, Dr. Gordon Swartz, Dean of GGU’s Ageno School of Business, reflects on the city’s reputation and position in the business world.

Dr. Swartz’s holds a DBA from Harvard University and has extensive and varied experience that combines business school teaching, research, and administration — with strategy consulting and development of high-growth organizations. As vice president of MarketBridge, Inc., he led major marketing, sales strategy, and transformation efforts for Fortune Global 500 companies.

Getting an MBA degree at GGU in San Francisco, specifically in the “FiDi”, gives students access to a wealth of expert working faculty and networking opportunities in major business areas such as finance, accounting, taxation, marketing, project management, and IT management. Throughout its 115-year history, Golden Gate University has become an integral part of the San Francisco business world — with over 16,000 alumni residing in the San Francisco Bay Area alone.

Making Choices:  Successful Bay Area Women Share Their Career Experiences

In honor of Women’s History Month, we invite you to watch the video of GGU’s 4th Annual Women in Leadership event that took place last fall. The panel event exposed current students to professional women who gave advice and shared stories on the topics of launching a new career, networking, personal values, and work-life balance. Three GGU alumni served as panelists:

Sofia Tulchinsky
(MBA ’96), Senior Director of Global Business Planning & Strategy, Salesforce

Givelle Lamano
(JD ’10), Attorney, Lamano Law Offices & Alameda County and co-founder of the Three Strikes Justice Center

Susan Lovegren
(MBA ’86), Chief People Officer, AppDynamics

The event was hosted by Dr. Marianne Koch who is Associate Dean of the Ageno School of Business, HR Program Director and a Professor of Management. Dr. Koch began the session by posing a single question to the three GGU alumni: What choices did you have to make to get where you are today? Here are a few choice quotes:

You can’t just decide what you like. You have to go through a series of steps to find out what you don’t like.

—Sofia Tulchinsky (MBA ’96)

I sought out successful female professionals in the Bay Area that shared my values. Personal Development precedes professional development.

—Givelle Lamano (JD ’10)

Selecting companies where I could learn from others was important at the start of my career.

—Susan Lovegren (MBA ’86)

You can watch the full video (below) or watch shorter highlights version on YouTube.


GGU’s Lasting Impression at HR West 2016

GGU’s presence was felt at HR West 2016!

The conference that brings together practicing human resource professionals in Northern California, was held in the Oakland Convention Center March 7 – 9. GGU’s Outreach team attended all three days informing attendees of our accredited degree programs which include HR management, and Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Our GGU team had great conversations with attendees about career advancement and was able to share that our programs are available online and in person. The team also connected with many alumni and students in attendance.

Chasity LeDoux at GGU’s table during HR West event.

Dr. Jeremy Welland, Adjunct Professor and Director of People Analytics at Pandora, presented a powerful presentation on data analytics at HR West.  The session provided insights on why many current systems are ineffective and the importance of linking appropriate metrics to business strategy. To tie these ideas together, Dr. Welland presented examples from Pandora’s implemented strategy to serve as a blueprint. Following the presentation, many inquired about our MBA program which offers a concentration in data analytics while raving about his informative session.

Jeremy Welland

Dr. Welland currently can be found in a GGU classroom teaching the principles of organizational behavior for our psychology department. For more information on his course availability and career, visit his featured biography.