Diversity in the tech industry: What does it mean and why is it so important?
Lack of diversity in the workplace has become an increasingly prominent issue in the tech industry and it’s particularly apparent in leadership roles.
We all know that increasing diversity in the workplace and sourcing candidates from a variety of demographics and backgrounds can bring big benefits to your business.
In this blog, we’ll discuss what diversity in tech means, why it’s essential and the best strategies that leading tech companies can use to increase diversity in their sector.
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What does diversity in tech mean?
In a nutshell, diversity in tech is the act of integrating more viewpoints, backgrounds and demographics into big tech.
Tech companies should be making an active effort to ensure that they’re considering diversity when selecting tech talent for both entry-level and leadership roles.
Each type of diversity brings something unique to the table, making them an asset to your company. Not only does it allow you to bring more perspectives to the table, it also allows you to better understand your consumers.
Ideally, your labour force should be representative of your customer base. Underrepresented and historically excluded communities can be overlooked in tech because the big tech companies don’t hire enough people from minority groups.
How to increase diversity in the technology industry
The technology industry has received much criticism in recent years regarding their lack of diversity. For this reason, most tech companies still need to work towards increasing diversity in their business, which is a crucial and necessary step.
However, there are quite a few ways that you can expand the diversity in your technology company by the way you hire, source candidates, support your current tech employees and more.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the top five ways you can start fostering more diversity at work and throughout the tech industry.
Expand the reach of your talent pool with new candidate sources
A new workforce of individuals who aren’t coming through traditional channels is emerging. The technology industry has a unique opportunity to expand its reach with workers who might not have considered tech as a potential career.
One key to improving diversity is expanding your candidate pool. Taking steps to cast a wider net enables you to find candidates who might not otherwise apply.
For example, if women are underrepresented in your employee ranks or applicant pool, consider sponsoring an event or conference aimed at reaching them. You might also look into local organisations catering to women and other minority groups.
Go beyond your Linkedin network and discover candidates from other sources. Partnering with organisations focused on diversity and inclusion in tech will allow you to tap into diverse talent pools.
Engrain DEI initiatives in your company culture
First and foremost, DEI stands for diversity, equity and inclusion. Ideally, these concepts should be ingrained in your company culture and at the forefront of your values.
Diversity in tech initiatives must be a core part of every tech company. Demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to DEI by embedding and integrating these efforts into your hiring and staffing strategies.
Seek out candidates with diverse backgrounds during interviews, panels and recruitment events. Invite speakers with diverse backgrounds to speak at company events and conferences and engage them as resources for strategic discussions.
There’s a big difference between discussing diversity and implementing diversity initiatives into your company culture. Make sure you walk the walk, as well as talk the talk. You need to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace if you want to have a genuine impact .
Recognise inclusive holidays on your calendar and take time to celebrate various cultural events together. For example, the observance and celebration of occasions like Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and Pride Month should be a start. Provide resources for your staff members to feel supported at work and back up these celebrations with concrete actions and strategies.
Do your best to remove unconscious bias from the hiring process
In just about every hiring process, companies encounter unconscious bias. The employment process may inadvertently prejudice underrepresented groups, even when this is not the hiring manager’s intention.
Luckily, you can take steps to eliminate unconscious bias from your hiring process. For example, you can change the way you write job ads so they’re in more neutral language and appeal to a broader audience.
Additionally, you can blindly review applications by hiding details that might reveal demographic information.
Set and meet hiring goals based on diversity metrics
Tech companies must hold themselves accountable for hiring a diverse workforce. Consider releasing diversity metrics, setting specific hiring plans and then tracking your progress.
Initially, tracking diversity metrics in the hiring process may seem strange. After all, companies want to hire a diverse workforce, not just one that looks diverse on paper.
Tracking diversity metrics can help you ensure you create a diverse workforce and inclusive environment. You may not be aware of certain roadblocks that minority groups are facing throughout the hiring process, but if you’re analyzing diversity metrics, you can identify these roadblocks and address them.
Develop diverse talent within your workplace
Work on actively developing diverse talent that already exists in your company. A truly diverse organisation will strive to diversify leadership positions in addition to having diversity in entry-level positions.
For example, give your staff more responsibility or training opportunities so they can grow within their role. Whether you’re hiring internally or bringing on new hires, here are tips for developing diverse talent within your company:
- Make diversity a priority by tracking progress
- Create support groups that provide an environment where people can speak openly without fear of retribution
- Establish flexible work schedules and offer part-time work options
- Offer mentorship programs for underrepresented groups
Creating a diverse work environment from top to bottom will make your employees feel more at home and welcome, offering them essential support and upward mobility.
What are the benefits of developing a diverse workforce?
A diverse workforce can often be the key to success in today’s highly competitive job market. There are some definite advantages to working with a diverse team.
Firstly, the critical point of diversity hiring in the tech industry is to observe multiple perspectives within the workplace. These perspectives can help you better understand your consumers.
Once you understand your consumers, creating products that will be successful with them becomes easier. With tech employees from different backgrounds working together, it’s easier for everyone involved to see what they’re trying to achieve and make adjustments as needed.
Also, having a more diverse workplace can increase employee retention, mainly as it makes your tech staff feel heard and noticed. By paying attention to underrepresented voices, you can achieve a more tolerant and inclusive workplace.
Diversity in the tech industry also allows your business access to many different skill sets, which means it has better odds of meeting its goals and objectives. A diverse workplace may also lead to more productive employees who feel valued for their contributions and an improved work environment.
In addition, diversity boosts brand reputation. By developing your company’s diversity, you show that you care about representation and inclusivity. Companies with diverse workforces tend to have better reputations amongst their customers, which is a positive for any brand.
You might also discover more diversity and inclusion in the workforce if you venture beyond the traditional tech hubs of Silicon Valley, San Francisco, New York and other major tech cities around the globe.
By looking beyond these competitive talent markets, you can unearth talent that may be otherwise overlooked and reach new communities and perspectives.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have demonstrated their ability to sustain remote work. This has led to more opportunities for employers to hire anyone from anywhere, significantly diversifying talent pools.
If you’d like to learn more about incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion into your hiring process, download our eBook now.
Want to improve diversity in your recruitment? Access our free eBook with Diversely now.
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