Improving diversity in technology firms
Improving diversity in technology firms

Have you ever learned about a culture (other than yours) from someone you met at your workspace?  In today’s business world, people from all walks of life join hands to work towards a common goal. Several organizations pride themselves on employing a diverse workforce, one that consists of individuals with an array of experiences and characteristics. These key characteristics include race, religion, gender, age, ability, and sexual orientation etc. Workforce diversity is an asset to any business that strives for a competitive advantage in the global economy.

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Now the question – why workforce diversity matters in tech?

A technology company working on building a diverse workforce can augment its skill base, majorly. This collaboration of varied outlooks could contribute additionally to your firm in the form of innovation, creativity, and positive brand image.  Innovation is crucial for any tech company and diversity plays a significant role in this. So why not consider workforce diversity in tech companies?

“Why diversity matters,” a 2015 report McKinsey & Co., finds:

  • gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform those without gender diversity.
  • ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform companies without ethnic diversity.

Lack of Workforce Diversity – The Problem

While the US is having more women in the leading positions in politics and tech-sector, the same can’t be seen within the technology sector. According to Silicon Valley Bank’s 2017 Startup Outlook report, over 70% (66 percent in 2016) of the 941 startups surveyed have no women in their leadership positions. Even more surprising is that half of all the startups have majorly male executives.

Big Companies are Less DiverseImportance of Workforce Diversity in Tech

While this was the story of the budding companies, the situation is even worse at the big tech companies. Despite a promise from technology companies to touch the minority roof, the Bay Area tech companies have a race problem, and it’s getting worse.

  • Just 20% of technical jobs in Google are held by women
  • Additionally, the Black and Hispanic representation is also declining.
  • For big players like Google and Facebook, black representation in technical jobs drops below 2% (drops to 1% in Facebook).

In November 2018, Facebook’s former black manager, Mark S. Luckie stated that the company has “black people problem.” He said that the population of Facebook employees doesn’t reflect its most active users – the blacks! The lack of black representation among Facebook employees has an adverse impact both on users and its black staffers.

So, what is the reason behind Silicon Valley’s mass failure to hire a more diverse workforce?

  • Talent Pipeline – According to the Silicon Valley companies, the issue is “the talent pipeline.” Black students with computer science degrees are available in numbers, but according to Leslie Miley, the director of engineering at Slack, the bay area tech companies don’t want students with computer science degrees from just anywhere. The founders and hiring managers of Silicon Valley companies want students with degrees from the same schools they went to.

    The preference for an elite resume sorely obstructs the so-called pipeline – and results in a much less diverse group of candidates for Silicon Valley jobs.
  • Referral Factor – Tech is excessively (approximately 85%) referral-based. So, when the majority of your staff are whites, you can bet their referrals are going to be majority whites.

diversity recruitment best practicesHow to Improve Diversity in Technology Firms

Tech companies may not be aware of the impact of a balanced and inclusive team. Diversity allows businesses to survive in an increasingly globalized, knowledge-work based environment, as McKinsey & Co 2015 report states: diverse teams pays handsomely. The following list includes steps on how to hire a diverse workforce.

  • Ensure equal pay – In 2015, Salesforce found that among its 17,000 employees, a large number of women employees were paid less than their male counterparts for the same role. As a solution, it adjusted salaries accordingly so that male and female employees earn equally for similar roles.
  • Rework on processes and policies – Strategic programs, such as a diverse-slate approach to hiring, implementing a values-aligned vs. a culture-fit interview, and providing opportunities (training) to people from marginalized groups to develop, take care of portrayal and retention problems.
  • Build a rewarding recruitment strategy – Microsoft is giving financial incentives to maintain a gender balance. The company is rewarding its hiring managers to encourage them to focus on diversity in their hiring patterns.
  • Promote Inclusion – Encourage underrepresented employees to share their stories; listen and believe them. Also, remind them you value their contribution by asking for the solutions – their expertise is valuable.

Diversity and inclusion are critical to every company’s (and more for tech) ability to innovate. One of the leading providers of contingent and permanent workforce solutions, we understand your challenges of building a diverse workforce. Therefore, we employ advanced analytics to identify and evaluate talent as per the parameters assigned by the clients. This ensures faster and a more diverse set of hires with an increased likelihood of success. With the help of the publicly available professional data, we spot fresh recruiting sources, compare our talent supply chain to competitors and recognize ways to optimize our hiring channels.

Want to hire a more diverse workforce? We can help!


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