What’s Next for Diversity and Inclusion in the IT Industry?
Many corporate environments are finding creative results by instituting purposeful action to build diverse teams. However, the IT industry – one that’s been led by men for decades – is trailing the pack. Is it time for the face of IT to change?
Say you’re in a conference and the boss asks your team for a solution for a new client’s issue. Does everyone bring up the exact same idea? Or does one idea come up and everyone nods in approval without raising alternatives? Your team could be falling victim to groupthink, and more diversity in your hiring can lead to greater diversity of ideas in the workplace.
According to Forbes, 76 percent of technical jobs are held by men, and African-American and Latino workers comprise just five percent of the tech workspace. Maybe with a few more faces standing side by side, the industry can introduce a new diversity of culture and ideals.
We’d like to teach the world to sing…
Perfect harmony is where it’s at. Diversity is not a new concept, but it’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days. Diversity in the workplace is something we’re all striving for, and with good reason.
Companies want to appeal to a broader audience and satisfy the needs of more than just a targeted few. And the best way to do this is through harnessing ideas and insights that span a wide variety of viewpoints. After all, we are the product of our environments and our realities, and our collective creative genius reflects this.
Therefore, hiring efforts should be inclusive of gender and culture: women, minorities and LGBTQ, for example, in addition to the typical IT guys everyone usually equates with the industry.
So how do we do it?
Knowing it needs to happen is half the battle. The next half includes hiring and marketing efforts that make the IT industry (and open jobs) more appealing to all. Consider the following tactics:
- Diversity training. You may want to start your efforts from within. Your mandatory diversity training can range anywhere from a session during the onboarding process to shutting down multiple locations of your business for a full day of staff diversity training. Focus on building awareness, understanding and acceptance.
- Focus your marketing efforts. Pay close attention to how you represent your company in the marketplace. Does your business come across as a boy’s club or does it appeal to a broader audience? Review the imagery and word choice on your website and in your job descriptions, and make edits that allow for cultural and gender inclusion.
- Support education. It’s possible many young people have never considered IT as a career choice because they view it as an option only for white men. To change this paradigm, you could sponsor a scholarship program, or offer internship possibilities for groups often underserved by the industry.
- Hire for diversity. This harkens back to writing job descriptions that are enticing across multiple demographics. Plus, the services of a staffing agency can help to attract the attention of a more diverse hiring pool. You can also work with a gender-diverse staffing agency, as many groups may feel more comfortable being interviewed by someone with a similar point of view.
- Provide mentorship and employee resource groups. Once you’ve brought some diverse hires on board, help additional new kids feel more comfortable through mentorship or employee groups. This gives your diverse workers a chance to meet one-on-one with someone they can closely identify with, to share any thoughts or concerns.
If you build it, they will come
The world is a wild and wonderful place, and as you expand your marketing and hiring efforts, you’ll begin to incorporate a wider range of human viewpoints through your hiring choices.
Let a recruiter help
If your team is struggling to come up with new ideas or build an inclusive environment, it helps to rely on the experience of a company that likes to challenge the status quo. For support diversifying your hiring process, just check out RightWorks.