Jun 15, 2021
5 min read

Diversity and Inclusion to Strengthen Culture in the Tech Industry

No one can deny the lack of diversity in the tech industry as it has often failed to represent and recruit women, POC, members of the LGBTQ community, and anyone who is not a white male. A study shows that amongst all employed adults in the U.S, blacks are a mere 7% of the STEM workforce, whereas Hispanics comprise only 6% of the workforce. This shows the disparity in STEM employment opportunities for white people vs. diverse groups of people.

As far as gender disparity is concerned, even companies recognized as women-friendly do not have enough highly qualified women to fill the growing demand for technologists. This is why tech leaders and businesses, big or small, are devising strategies and recruiting methods to attract, train, and recruit women.

Planting the Seeds for a More Diverse and Equitable Workforce

Let's look at a few ways to improve diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace.

Offer Training and Returnship Programs

Many companies are now re-hiring talented employees by offering a returnship program specially designed for those who took a gap of more than a year from the workforce. Training and returnship programs are essential to polish the skills of these workers and train them to learn new and diverse skills.

These programs are cost-effective, too, as less money is spent on training workers who already know industries' know-how than those entering the job market. These programs last 12-16 weeks and are usually sponsored by an external entity. At the end of the training, companies can make a few of these exceptional workers a permanent part of their company.

Diversify the Hiring Pipeline

One of the problems that give rise to a lack of inclusivity and diversity in the tech industry is the lack of excitement for working in the tech industry. It is broadly assumed that working in tech means being dominated by a male population, and rightfully so, as shown by diversity reports of Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook.

These giant tech corporations hire primarily white males, creating a culture of non-inclusivity that people run away from. Even if companies want to promote diversity, they hire talent that can fit a diverse work environment or hire people already looking for jobs. While that is a common strategy, it doesn't contribute to a company's D&I efforts.

Start by creating awareness and excitement from the beginning and diversify the STEM pipeline by reaching out to schools and universities. Also, take initiatives that help students explore and grow their skills, give them new opportunities to discover the tech world, and encourage women and POC to be a part of these initiatives.

Delve into untapped talent pools such as people transitioning from other professions, ex-veterans, or POC graduates still waiting to be hired. Develop partnerships with organizations and external entities that can help companies expand their recruiting network.

Encourage Growth Through Flexibility

Most women do not stay recruited at a tech company for a long time because of the lack of equitable compensation and flexibility. A study of senior women technologists in the industry for the past eight years shows that fair compensation (41%) and the choice to have a flexible personal and professional life (39%) were top factors retaining top-caliber women in the industry.

Since caregiving responsibilities usually rest on women, it gets increasingly challenging for them to work 9 to 5. When women take maternity leaves, coming into work after some time may affect productivity as well. Due to these reasons, women may find it hard to balance work and personal lives.

Companies should offer flexible work hours, split schedules, and offer new mothers the chance to work part-time. When companies grow out of traditional boundaries of what workspace rules look like, they can attract new opportunities of attracting top and diverse talent.

To Conclude

Diversity and inclusion strategies can differ based upon a company's culture, values, and growth. However, regardless of different techniques to approach D&I, all companies across all industries can benefit from cultivating an inclusive work culture.

Stereotyping, lack of equal growth opportunities, and unfair work policies are just some of the reasons that hinder talented people from diverse backgrounds from working in the tech industry. Diversity and inclusion strategies are starting to be prioritized like other business targets in tech and other industries to move forward into a stronger work culture.