A lack of diversity is a concerning issue that is putting tech companies’ future in a precarious position. According to reports, a lack of diversity costs tech companies $16 billion per year. The loss represents the replacement cost of staff that exited mainly due to unfair treatment in the workplace.
By 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 1.4 million open computer science-related positions and only 400,000 qualified candidates to fill them.
In the U.S., men in tech outnumber women four to one. And the worrying fact is that female computer science graduates have decreased from 35% to 17% since 1985.
One reason that may account for this is the fact that women in STEM make an average of $16,000 less than their male counterparts, while black/ Hispanic tech workers make $14,000 less.
According to CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux, properly implementing a successful diversity initiatives could net the industry an extra $400 billion in revenue every year.
Another benefit of diversity is having a nimbler, more innovative group of employees who are better able to relate to the changing demographics of the world at large. New research is showing that more diverse teams are better problem solvers and are more creative.
HR at tech companies interested in getting ahead on diversity should consider incorporating the following strategies:
- Consider tying executive compensation to diversity goals. This is a major signal that your company is serious about its diversity efforts.
- Create a program specifically designed to sponsor and mentor female employees.
- Formally address the fact that the diversity and pay gaps exist and commit to being transparent about these discrepancies.
- Invest in nonprofits that nurture the tech pipeline for both women and minorities, to help develop the tech leaders of tomorrow.
- Provide training programs that raise awareness about unconscious bias and communicating in more sensitive ways.
Again, increasing diversity is not just a philanthropic effort for the tech industry (or any industry, honestly) – it’s critical to its current and future success.