Diversity, equity, and inclusion is far from complete—and as organizations, it’s our moral imperative to support every individual in our workplace and society.
In celebrating Global Diversity Awareness Month, we share insights on how diversity, aside from being a morally correct and accepted value today, also drives creativity and innovation, helping organizations achieve success.
Let’s uncover the connection between innovation and diversity, and the challenges in the tech industry in achieving diversity and equality, gaining insights into actionable strategies for fostering diversity for tech companies.
Igniting Innovation and Creativity in Tech Industries Through Diversity
Creating a culture of innovation and creativity does not happen overnight. It requires consistent effort and contribution from everyone in the company. But how does diversity aid in achieving this?
According to Forbes, diverse teams tend to be more creative and collaborative. An individual’s creativity is equally affected by his ability to look at different angles or points of view—especially when interacting with people from different backgrounds, cultures, personalities, and life circumstances.¹
Diverse Groups Focus on Facts
In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 200 people grouped into six mock panels, either consisting of two black and four white participants or all white, were shown a video trial of white victims and a black defendant, and they had to decide whether the defendant was guilty.²
The study found that the diverse panels presented more facts, resulting in fewer errors than the other groups. In a similar study published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, teams with diverse members were 58 percent more able to guess stock prices than non-diverse teams.
Ongoing Struggles for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) in Tech
Diversity in tech took some time to accomplish, especially in implementation, due to the dilemmas regarding gender and ethnicity.
According to Zippia’s research, men are usually offered 3 percent higher salaries than women. Moreover, about 75 percent of US tech jobs are provided to males.³ In the same study, researchers found that the US tech sector is made up of a majority of 62 percent White Americans, 20 percent Asian Americans, 8 percent Latin Americans, and 7 percent Black Americans.
A survey from Accenture in 2020 pointed out that 21 percent of women believe it’s easy for them to thrive in tech. However, for women of color, it drops to just 8 percent.⁴
Most companies find it complex to move towards diversity in the tech industry, mainly due to the lack of diversity in tech programs.
Strategies For a Diverse Tech Ecosystem
How can we harness diversity in the tech industry? Here are the steps you can take to eliminate the hurdles of DE&I in the tech sector.
Promote Allyship and Collaboration
One of the critical elements in promoting diversity and inclusion is teamwork, promoting allyship within the workplace. By supporting and uplifting your colleagues, regardless of age, ethnicity, background, gender, or disability, fostering a diverse culture can be achieved.
- Start with exemplary leadership and take the initiative in promoting allyship.
- Encourage everyone to promote allyship and collaboration.
- Speak up when there is injustice.
- Advocate for your colleagues and support them in any way.
- Use your influence and privilege to effect change.
Focus on Company Culture
Excellent and healthy company culture is one of the few things that attract diverse top talent. Companies should actively foster empathy, inclusivity, and safe work environments to achieve belongingness in the workplace.
As leaders, you can start by recognizing unique events and holidays, such as honoring Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month. Another way is to create candidate resource groups that can support underrepresented employees in the workplace.
Create a Diverse Hiring Strategy
A diverse hiring strategy is a strategy you can implement to help you find and recruit employees with unique backgrounds, ethnicity, age, disability, or gender. The first step is to eliminate both conscious and unconscious biases.
Organizations can also focus on reaching out to diversity-supporting organizations and developing an understanding of what it means to advocate for a diverse workforce. You can attend seminars, conferences, job fairs, or conduct employee training. These are great resources where your organization can get insight into diversity and inclusivity.
Empower Diversity Through Professional Development
With 20 years of experience in the field as a Latina IT Executive, Elaine Montilla, founder of 5xminority and Chief Technology Officer for US School Assessment at Pearson, said in a Forbes interview that she has seen the development of people’s ability to practice diversity through education and professional growth.⁵
Diversity isn’t just a catchphrase; it’s a stimulant for creativity, a motivator of invention, and a crucial component of every tech organization’s success. – Elaine Montilla
Aside from advocating diversity, it provides genuine appreciation and commitment to the workforce’s efforts and success, promoting work satisfaction, retention rates, and a sense of belonging. Diversity should be seen in the entire organization, and this can start with training leaders about diversity, ensuring that they provide unbiased decisions across the board.
Measure Your Results
Measuring and tracking your progress is as important as understanding and implementing diversity in the tech industry.
Organizations can develop a strategy for reporting the company’s demographics, like the percentage of diverse tech workers or the number of diverse candidates interested. Besides those front-end measurements, finding out how your employees feel about your diversity efforts is also a good idea.
- Do they support your efforts?
- Do they genuinely feel included?
- Do they see the results of diversity efforts?
- Are they satisfied with the organizational structure?
- Do they have any suggestions or recommendations for change?
INTEGRATE DIVERSITY INTO YOUR HIRING PROCESS AND BUILD BETTER TEAMS WITH STRATEGIC SYSTEMS
Diversity in the tech industry can be a significant catalyst for enhanced innovation. More and more organizations are now recognizing the need and benefit of diversity. Through commitment from every organizational level, companies can make a solid impact on fostering DE&I culture.
At Strategic Systems, we believe that every individual deserves a spotlight and a chance to showcase their unique talents and skills, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or education.
Whether you are a candidate looking for a job in the IT sector or an employer looking to fill your tech talent pipeline, let us know how we can help through our staffing expertise and unique services.
1. Viki, Tendayi. “Why Diverse Teams Are More Creative.” Forbes, 06 Dec. 2016, www.forbes.com/why-diverse-teams-are-more-creative.
2. Rock, David and Grant, Heidi. “Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter.” Harvard Business Review, 04 Nov. 2016, hbr.org/why-diverse-teams-are-smarter.
3. Ariella, Sky. “25+ Telling Diversity in High Tech Statistics : Tech Demographics + Trends.” Zippia, 07 Nov. 2022, www.zippia.com/diversity-in-high-tech-statistics.
4. “Resetting Tech Culture: 5 Strategies to Keep Women in Tech.” Accenture. www.accenture.com/Accenture-A4-GWC-Report-Final1. 11 Sep. 2023.
5. Montilla, Elaine. “Diversity in Tech: A Catalyst For Innovation.” Forbes, 03 Jul. 2023, www.forbes.com/diversity-in-tech-a-catalyst-for-innovation.