If enterprises continue to follow traditional means of hiring and don’t recognize the changes in the IT workforce, they will lose out on people with updated and niche skill sets. And these skilled people lose out on their career prospects — that’s a lose-lose situation, if ever there was one. On the contrary, by acknowledging the underrepresented minorities and females available in the IT job market and updating hiring mechanisms to tap this emerging potential, enterprises can build future-ready teams and make their organizations stronger with IT diversity.
Unfortunately, as of now, the tech sector does not seem to really believe in IT diversity. But with the diversity of skills and the diversity of people available among IT jobseekers, the time has come to embrace the idea of IT diversity for your enterprise. Let’s look at some of the most compelling reasons.
IT diversity helps global appeal and enhances reputation
An enterprise that nurtures ethnic and gender diversity in its tech teams sends out the right messages about not discriminating among people based on factors other than their skills. Millennial technocrats, in particular, want to work with companies that don’t discriminate when it comes to hiring, or for that matter any other business function.
Companies with diversity in their tech teams enjoy strong reputation across nations and markets. Top talent can’t be represented by a homogeneous group; people with varied life experiences and cultural backgrounds represent the reality of the global business universe, and enterprises that embrace this ideology for their tech hiring are able to send out the right signals in the business ecosystem.
Diversity nurtures performance excellence
It’s acknowledged across the business globe that diversity in companies drives innovation and performance excellence. With IT diversity, teams can build better products, and serve the interests of a larger, and more varied audience. Diversity holds the key to performance excellence in IT teams. In any environment, teams with people from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and cultures foster creativity and innovation.
IT teams with a lot of diversity can enhance the performance ability as well as the problem-solving capabilities of the enterprise. But you want to hire people with talent as well. You do not want to hire someone just because they will make the team look better based on the color of their skin. You want diversity, but not because of artificial reasons, the people you hire need to deserve to work there — and there is no shortage of talented candidates across the spectrum of genders, races, ages, and cultural backgrounds.
Also, it’s widely acknowledged that people interact with technology differently, based on factors linked to ethnicity, gender, demographics, and culture. This directly implies that to capture the technology usage preferences of the massively varied audience, your company will need diversity within the IT teams as well.
Linguistic and cultural diversity as enablers of global reach
Technology has connected every part of the world. This is true for enterprises with large IT teams as well. Opportunities to ramp up their tech game in lesser explored markets, fulfilling the need to infuse localized knowledge in niche technological products aimed at local markets, and promoting global appeal as provider of equal opportunity — these are direct benefits of IT diversity.
For instance, if your IT team has at least a few Japanese men and women, you know you can latch on to any opportunities of technology projects in Japan, whereas your competitors will need to undertake hiring and cultural sensitization to stake its claims.
Also, your diverse IT teams will inspire confidence among collaborators such as tech firms from other regions, foreign governments, and academia from other nations. In a highly integrated ecosystem, this can give any enterprise massive leverage to quickly expand, scale up, and roll out projects in unexplored markets.
Delivering products that appeal to global communities
The times when IT-heavy products were for limited demographics and user groups are long over. Today, IT teams and IT-heavy enterprises need to develop systems, products, and technologies with the global community as the user base. This means that enterprise IT teams can’t really be misrepresentative of the target audiences they want to develop products for, and hence, need to adopt racial as well as ethnic diversity as a necessity.
A diverse IT team is able to anticipate the needs and expectations of a diverse user group, whereas a one-dimensional IT team can often be stonewalled into developing products and systems that don’t appeal to major sections of the target audience.
The biggest companies on the globe that are able to connect global audiences seamlessly are also the ones with maximum diversity in their IT teams. Check out this infographic on InformationIsBeautiful for a more detailed representation of the gender and ethnic diversity in the workforces of major tech giants of the world.
Diversity and above average financial performance go hand in hand
McKinsey did an extensive analysis of companies’ financial performance and correlation with their racial and ethnic diversity. This 2015 study revealed striking correlation in diversity and financial performance. The key takeaways:
- Companies in top quartile in terms of ethnic and racial diversity are 35 percent likelier than peers to clock above industry-median financial returns.
- Also, companies in the bottom quartile in terms of gender and racial diversity were found to be less likely than others to achieve financial returns better than that for above average companies.
- A 10 percent increase in senior executive team level diversity corresponded to an 0.8 percent increase in earnings.
A slightly old study done back in 2011 in Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500 list revealed that female representation in executive management roles contributed an increase of roughly $42 million to a company’s value.
Now, while it might be naïve to treat these numbers as testimony of diversity as a cause of financial success for companies, it is incontestable that there is clear correlation, at least. This also implies that there are strong grounds for improved female representation in IT teams also, especially considering how the gap between IT and business decisions has been minimized.
IT diversity in your workforce will bring in long term improvements in performance efficiency, creativity, innovation, and tech-delivery quality for your enterprise. But you have to hire someone who is qualified and since many minorities and woman do not major in IT and computer engineering, that is the conundrum. Society needs to do a better job, certainly in America, in pushing kids to major in computers and IT since that is what this country needs.
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