Technology industry

Diversity and Inclusion in the Tech Industry: Perception vs. Reality

A Harvard Business Review titled “To increase diversity, U.S. tech companies must track talent», published on 4and December 2020, addresses the issue of diversity and inclusion inherent in the tech industry.

He says tech companies have consistently had similar promises to bridge the minority divide, but little success has been achieved in this regard. At this preliminary stage, it should also be noted that the human rights activist has, to a very large extent, stimulated the recognition of the existence of a color and gender gap in various organizations.

The homogeneity of the tech industry has had serious implications for justice and fairness. For example, when you consider unfair facial recognition technologies that discriminate against people of color or virtual reality headsets designed by men for themselves, it shows how these companies perpetuate the opposite of what they profess. .

As proof, it is Google’s 2020 Annual Diversity Report, where he showed that while 5.5% of his employees identify as black or black and other races, 6.6% are Latinx while 32.5% are women. Additionally, between 2014 and 2020, the number of Black and Hispanic people in tech only increased by 2%. The general consensus is that if these spreads are not sufficiently balanced, it can create a negative reputation for these companies.

Additionally, despite the existence of a pipelined recruitment strategy that provides more entry points for minorities to make their way into tech institutions, getting into tech companies remains difficult. The challenges that arise are spurred by a number of things, such as the outdated calendar used by higher education institutions, the academic threshold set by recruiters, and the search for students of one school race.

These barriers in place indeed make it impossible for people in less developed countries to compete on an equal footing with their counterparts in more developed countries. The leveling ground would have been a diverse and inclusive recruitment policy. But then, it’s non-existent.

When it comes to technology company leadership, in a TechNation report, approximately 77% of CTO positions are held by men, while women occupy 23%. It simply means that there is discrimination even at the management level. These findings have big implications – for example, they challenge our thinking about how diversity is promoted. It is often said that to promote better representation of underrepresented groups in the workforce, it is important that boards lead by example.

However, the problem with this view is that it raises debates about the merit of the appointment of directors. Nonetheless, it should be remembered that the purpose of diversity and inclusion is to give underrepresented people equal access to opportunities like those who are adequately represented. Therefore, advocating for female-led leadership in tech companies is a step in the right direction.

The improvement strategy: what can be done

There is a need to champion an ecosystem where organizations promote the development of specialized higher institutions where businesses can easily recruit and trust the products of the institution. Needless to say, the partnership between the public and private sectors could prove useful in designing environments that would be inclusive from the start of their studies until the end of their studies. Another great development that this partnership can strengthen is the creation of tuition grants for students offering technology-related courses.

Another way to improve diversity is to focus on corporate culture to attract more diversity into technology. Businesses must actively cultivate safe, empathetic and inclusive environments to foster diversity. This can be done by appreciating and recognizing people’s holidays. So, instead of focusing on vacations of majority people in a company, vacations of minorities should also be included. Creating employee resource groups can also be put to good use here. With these groups, underrepresented employees can get all the support they need to thrive in the workplace.

Additionally, the lack of diversity in technology is also caused by the lack of exposure to positive role models by underrepresented groups. In a 2021 study by Kaspersky, it was reported that 19% of women working in tech were inspired to take up their profession by a female role model, while a significant number said male dominance made them assume that they were not fit for the job.

Additionally, creating a diverse recruitment strategy can be implemented for technical roles. This involves reaching out to organizations that support and develop tech talent. Companies can also create training programs for employees who want to shift their careers towards technology. When employees realize they have the ability to learn new skills and be educated about something they desire, they feel included and appreciated.

Finally, it is not enough just to make proposals and promises, but it is more important that words are followed by action. This can be done by measuring results. Companies must have a goal and a strategy to promote diversity. They should create a short-term and long-term diversity and inclusion goal.

To make sure this is as effective as they want, they can submit their target for public scrutiny. Now, where this is done and achieved, the gap between the represented and the underrepresented will be bridged and the overall reputation of the company will be promoted.

picture by Marcus Winkler on Unsplash