Diversity efforts are unexplored territory for many European nations.

The November 2005 riots across France made it clear why efforts to diversify Europe's workforce are important, and why these efforts may pose a particular challenge here. Frustrated at being shut out of the nation's economic and educational mainstream, young people-including blacks, whites, and North African immigrants-torched cars, schools, and churches in poor neighborhoods across France. The riots helped begin to force a change in European nations, like France, that have resisted engaging in diversity efforts, seeing them as a "cultural issue" with no place in business, says Rajvinder Kandola, senior partner and head of diversity at Pearn Kandola, an occupational psychology practice based in Oxford and Dublin.

Aging populations and stagnant birthrates in many nations mean an inflow of foreign students and workers is essential to keep academia and business thriving, many diversity consultants say. Diversification may be particularly important...

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