New Jersey is known as a melting pot — one of the most diverse states in the nation. And a new Taft State of Diversity survey finds interaction among people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds in the Garden State is continuing to grow.

Krista Jenkins, the director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll, said a survey commissioned by Taft Communications and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association found 88 percent of respondents said they interact at work daily with someone of a different race or ethnicity — compared to 86 percent last year and 83 percent in 2016.

“We also find that diversity training has increased from last year, from 43 percent in 2017 to 48 percent this year," she said.

She said the survey also found 68 percent of respondents say their co-workers value diverse perspectives and backgrounds, and encourage a respectful work environment, while 58 percent in 2017 responded the same way.

Jenkins said the survey also asked people a new question – whether they felt diversity on the job improved work results.

"We find that nearly 6 in 10 said they have seen better or improved results on a work project because of team members' diverse backgrounds," she said.

Michele Siekerka, the president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, believes the findings of the survey are very positive .

“They indicate New Jersey is one of the most, if not the most diverse states in the nation,” she said.

She said “this survey is a perfect example, when we ask people about the value of diversity, how much value diversity brings to the workplace.”

She also pointed out diversity in the workplace in our state is becoming much more common than it used to be.

“And it shows that people, especially the next generation coming in, people are very comfortable with diversity in the workplace and this is very important again, being a melting pot state," Siekerka said.

She added it’s also positive that employers are taking more time to ensure diversity in the workplace.

This Fairleigh Dickinson University survey was conducted by landline and cellular telephone between May 16 and 21, among a random statewide sample of 619 employed residents. Results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 4.0 points.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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