Too often the kneejerk reaction to someone questioning the level of diversity in your organisation is to claim that there’s not a problem. You’re definitely diverse because your team has 3 women and you work with an agency in Singapore.
It’s an uncomfortable subject. People get touchy and don’t know the right way to handle the topic. If that all sounds familiar then it’s time to get serious about diversity and inclusion.
The tech industry needs to be diverse, not only to reflect society but also to embrace the creativity, innovation, ideas and productivity that comes with a diverse team. Without it, there’s a chance you’ll be left standing still while your competitors all race past you.
Diversity in technology
When we think about diversity in the tech industry it’s not overly positive. There has been some progress but overall it’s a sector dominated by white men. Take a look at these statistics from the 2023 Diversity in Tech report.
- Only one in five tech students is female
- The total of women in tech isn’t even 30% and for black women that’s under 5%
- 67% of respondents have between 0 - 25% black executives in their leadership teams
It’s not a great picture.
The imbalance goes across racial diversity as well as gender diversity. In the US, only 7% of jobs are held by Black Americans, 8% by Latin Americans and 20% by Asian Americans.
Diversity and inclusion is a growing area within tech, with mounting pressure to address the diversity imbalances that exist within the industry. But there’s a long way to go. The good news is that some of the big players in the industry have publicly committed to improving their diversity. Google lists focusing on equity in their hiring process as one of their 5 action points for the year and can show an increase in the number of women recruiting globally, along with Black and Latin hires.
Despite mounting pressure there’s still a long way to go to achieving a greater depth of diversity.
What’s the impact of diversity on the tech industry?
The impact of a diverse workforce goes way beyond what you might initially expect. When you think of a diverse workforce you think about the individuals and how their lives and careers might benefit. That’s absolutely true and once the door is opened, the level of diversity in that organisation increases every year.
But there are benefits for the business too.
Real, tangible benefits that improve the bottom line, the services or products on offer, the working culture and the level of innovation.
Studies show that the more diverse a team is, the better its performance. It’s more innovative, creative, productive and for tech companies those three elements are crucial to success. Being able to draw on a range of experiences, backgrounds and demographics brings different viewpoints into the mix. Helping to expand markets, reach new markets and create products and services that are designed for everyone.
Traditionally the tech industry is male dominated. In fact, the ratio of females to males in tech roles has declined in the past 35 years. But women control around $20 trillion of consumer spending. If women aren’t included in developing products targeted at them, there’s a real risk it’s not going to land right and you’re limiting your shot at a slice of that $20 trillion.
Increased revenue is also a direct result of a diverse workforce, particularly when your management teams are diverse. Research by McKinsey found that companies who are more diverse are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. With BCG finding that diverse management teams result in 19% higher revenue.
Simple ways to start conversations around diversity
Diversity in tech is an issue. And it’s one that we need to address, which sometimes seems easier said than done. Here are some starting points to generate discussion in your organisation about the right approach for you:
- Understand your starting point. How diverse are you as an organisation? What’s your current employee make-up?
- Look at your hiring strategy, everything from where you advertise to how you interview to your onboarding process. Is it accessible and what bias exists within it?
- What’s your working culture like? Is it late nights, long hours, are you flexible, can people work from home, is it inclusive?
- Do you talk about being diverse or do you live and breathe it? Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk too.
- Talk to your employees, particularly those from a diverse or minority background, what support do they need, what attracted them, what barriers are there and really listen to what they have to say.
There’s never been a better time to reaffirm your commitment to diversity within the tech industry. With so many positive outcomes to both the business and an individual, there are no excuses.
The Source Technology team are experienced in helping your organisation build a diverse workforce. Our expert consultants can build and deliver a strategy right for your team and help you get the best talent from all backgrounds.
Our consultants have extensive experience in recruitment, talent acquisition, and HR strategy. We can help you identify potential barriers to diversity and inclusion within your current recruitment process and implement effective solutions to overcome them. Connect with the team today: firstname.lastname@example.org