Diversity and Inclusion in the Tech Industry

Diversity and inclusion are increasingly important topics throughout the tech industry for good reasons. Increasing wage gaps between races and genders are shining a growing spotlight on the issue. For the tech industry, diversity and inclusion really means creating a workforce that is equitable and fair for everyone involved, not just based on what gender they are, their ethnicity or race. In fact, Atlassian’s 2017 “State of Diversity Report”revealed that several tech and software development companies overestimate their enhanced performance on the promotion of diversity and inclusion at their companies, leaving quite a few areas of opportunities. Take a look at how diversity plays out in today’s tech industry and how managers can improve it.

Check the Stats

Often what is actually happening versus what software development companies feel is happening in regards to diversity and inclusion within the workplace aren’t always the same. The statistics often separate fact from fiction to paint a vivid picture of how the tech industry infuses diversity within the workplace. For instance, one study indicates that men hold 76 percent of all technical occupations. Moreover, Latinos and African-Americans represent only 5 percent of tech’s labor force.

Another study reveals that men begin with 20 percent more pay than women in every one out of 10 jobs in the tech industry, with some companies paying upwards of 50 percent. This same study revealed that black women in tech make 79 cents for every dollar that white men in tech jobs make and attributes some of this to unconscious bias. Moreover, women only account for 9 percent of senior roles in IT leadership, including chief technology officers, chief information officers and vice presidents of technology. Diversity and inclusion extends to people with disabilities too. With only 17.5 percent of Americans with disabilities hired in the nation’s total workforce compared to the 65 percent without disabilities who work, there is an imbalance of representation and inclusion that tech companies cannot ignore. These statistics help to shed light on the need for improvement of diversity and inclusion in the tech workforce.

Clearly Define Diversity and Inclusion Goals

Tech companies have to be clear about what they are aiming to achieve when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workforce. That means it’s not enough to establish a diversity program. They must have some solid goals and measures in place that hold tech companies accountable. Rather than create vague goals, supervisors should get specific about what they are trying to achieve. For example, instead of making it a goal to hire more women in the company, Human Resources can make a specific hiring goal like hiring 22 percent more women engineers. Establishing specific goals helped Pinterest achieve its gender diversity hiring goals for 2017.

Take Action

Recognizing the need for change and planning for it is just the beginning. It’s important to put a plan in motion and know when to get help. Software firms can strengthen their talent pool by seeking a workforce that is more diverse. To reach this end, outsource IT operations and talent resources to find the best tech candidates. Automated search criteria can handle the vetting of candidates among a group of diverse workers. Consider outsourcing some IT operations to experts who understand the significance of diversity and inclusion and already have access to a diverse pool of tech candidates, such as Covintus. Additional support for software development, web design, coding and user-experience improvements are also available from the Covintus team.

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