The tech industry has long been plagued with a lack of diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Data shows that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color), women, and members of the LGBTQ community have faced discrimination, inequality, and under-representation in the tech industry for years. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the industry employs a large percentage of whites (63.5%), followed by African Americans (14.4%), Hispanics (13.9%), and women representing 36% of the workforce. Executive levels show a bigger disparity where 83% are male and 80% are white.
As society is becoming more conscious of diversity and inclusivity in many areas, the tech industry is also keeping up. The importance of tech companies to prove their commitment to closing the gender gap, widening diversity, and making workplaces more inclusive is slowly happening, giving more opportunities, success, and narrowing disparities in pay among employees. So, what can tech companies do? Here are 4 ways to improve diversity and inclusion in the tech workplace:
Tackle Unconscious Bias within the Company
Women in the tech industry often face discrimination because of gender stereotypes while underrepresented groups often overlook careers in the industry. Unconscious bias is most common in the recruitment process as recruiters or interviewers have deep-set biases against BIPOC, LGBTQ, and women who are not well-represented in the tech industry. The image of the white, male computer engineer is often the poster child for people who work in the sector and this can be disadvantageous for companies as they are limiting their productivity and success.
To tackle unconscious bias, human resource departments designated for the interview process must be trained to remove or prevent these biases at least. Some ways a company can foster this development is through training programs and blind screening processes where recruiters don’t see the candidate in person.
Partner with Schools to Educate Children About the Tech Industry
Technology is affecting the education industry too these days. Many school-age kids of underrepresented groups in the tech industry miss out on developing an interest in the field because of the lack of representation. They don’t see their parents in the tech sector, and they probably don’t know a lot of role models who are a success in the industry. By partnering with schools and educating school-age children early on, interest can start at a young age for girls, members of the BIPOC communities, as well as LGBTQ teens. Get all kids interested in coding, design, programming, and engineering, so they develop a mindset that they are welcome and included in the tech industry, and they, too, can someday build careers in the sector without being discriminated against or excluded.
Ensure Equal Pay
One of the many things that can be discovered by using diversity analytics is gender pay gaps. Men and women in similar roles have different salaries and bonuses, whereas the former enjoy better pay. Tech companies must address this issue and close the gender pay gap. Not only will ensuring equal pay improve productivity in women employees, but it will attract potential women and LGBTQ candidates to join your company, offering diversity in the workforce that translates to diverse innovations and solutions for your company.
Be More Inclusive
Inclusivity is different from diversity since the latter is more about representation but the former is more about giving all of your employee’s equal access to opportunities, benefits, and rights in the workplace. One way you can improve your workplace inclusivity is by talking to employees who do not represent the majority of the workforce. For example, a single mother who has toddlers may need daycare; a new mom needs a place to pump her milk, or a Muslim employee needs a prayer room. By talking to these employees, you can create solutions and opportunities for them to feel included, seen, heard, and cared for by the company.
Research suggests that the more diverse and inclusive the workforce is, the more improvements they experience in the company. Some of these improvements include higher revenue, equal access, improved quality and quantity of innovations, as well as better decision-making. By welcoming diversification and inclusivity in the tech industry, ideas and solutions will no longer be limited, and therefore, everyone benefits – from the companies to the employees.