A Business Case for Diversity & Inclusion

– Andrea Elder-Howell, Vice President – Legal

You might wonder why Diversity and Inclusion are part of PSEG Long Island’s core commitments, and it’s worth asking the question. How much do those values really have to do with supplying electricity to Long Island and the Rockaways?

The answer is: A lot, actually. As the executive sponsor of PSEG Long Island’s Diversity & Inclusion initiatives, I see ample evidence that promoting and maintaining a diverse, inclusive workforce is essential to the success of any business in the 21st century.

We should start by discarding the assumption that keeping the lights on is all an electric utility does. Things have changed since Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse were duking it out over direct current and alternating current.

Yes, “business success” means providing best-in-class reliability, but providing outstanding customer service is more important than ever. New programs need to reach underserved communities. High-tech applications have to be designed and launched to give customers the power to do business with the company with just a few taps on their smartphones. To accomplish all this, we need the best talent—and the best talent is diverse.

Customers themselves are also changing, becoming more diverse, speaking more languages, and expecting more from every company with which they do business.

Nothing stays the same. Everything changes. And any company that does not embrace a diverse, inclusive workforce will be left behind. We embrace diversity and inclusion so that we can have the right people to help us evolve and flourish—and so that everyone feels welcome, appreciated and ready to do their best work.

Demographically, both our customers and jobseekers are becoming more diverse, and every company needs to be able to properly interact with them in order to remain competitive. Here are just a few demographic traits that contribute to diversity:

  • Age: According to a United Nations study, 2 billion of the world’s population will be older than 60 by 2050.
  • Gender: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women comprised 47% of the total labor force. That’s a big difference from even 20 years prior.
  • Multiple cultural identities: In 2000, the Census allowed people to select more than one race for the first time. We are now seeing nearly 7 million Americans who identify with two or more races.

For all of these reasons and more, PSEG Long Island is proud to have a robust Diversity & Inclusion initiative in place. We have more than a dozen Employee Business Resource Groups to bring people together to discuss issues important to them and to celebrate culture. We have a Diversity & Inclusion Council made up of employees from all levels and backgrounds who are finding ways to continue to transform our workplace culture and chart the path to future business success.

The trends are unmistakable: Customers in the 21st century expect more. PSEG Long Island, like any business, needs a diverse workforce with top talent to understand and meet those expectations. I am proud to be guiding PSEG Long Island’s efforts, and I look forward in the future to sharing some of our strategies to recruit and retain the diverse talent we need as we continue to transform the experience of our electric customers.

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