Diversity, equity, and inclusion. These are three words that are appearing broadly across many industries. They have become a key focus for businesses who understand the importance of embracing and utilizing the power of diversity to grow a resilient workforce. You may have heard these words referred to as “DEI”. Behind these three letters stands a complex issue that deserves our attention. For people entering the workforce, especially those who want to earn an entry level position in technology or grow in their current role, DEI matters!
Here’s the good part. Because so many businesses are giving DEI the attention it deserves, there has never been a better time to launch into a career in technology, especially for those who bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Keep reading to gain a basic understanding of DEI and the important role it plays in building a successful career in technology.
What exactly is DEI?
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a term used to describe policies and programs that promote the representation and participation of different groups of individuals, including people of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures and sexual orientations.
The concept of DEI is not new, but it has transformed since its early days. Looking back at history, some of the first indications of businesses recognizing the value of DEI began with diversity workplace training initiatives during the civil rights movement when equal employment and affirmative action laws went into effect in the 1960s.
Diversity in the workplace has improved since then, but racial equity protests in recent years have set major red flags that the work is far from done. There’s a long way to go to get the majority of businesses, large and small, to recognize and prioritize DEI.
Why is DEI in tech important?
The tech industry thrives upon a diverse set of skills and talents. Not only does it need the hard skills of tech-minded individuals, it also needs those skilled in human resources, communications, and marketing. The unique perspectives and experiences brought to the table by a diverse workforce are what generate product innovation, better decision making, and stronger teams. Simply put, the success of tech cannot happen without diversity!
Interestingly, gender-segregated inclusive teams outperform gender-segregated non-inclusive teams by an average of 50%.This means that DEI in tech is not just a “nice to have,” it’s an essential part of a business’s growth strategy and should be treated as such. This means taking proactive measures and designing strategic plans that thoughtfully integrate DEI approaches. The strongest, healthiest tech businesses are doing exactly this.
DEI in Tech Now
DEI in tech, though recognized and valued, is not without its challenges and pitfalls. The tech industry has long struggled to make consistent, meaningful development on DEI efforts. What starts out as a strong effort can quickly dwindle if not given the proper attention and resources, sustained over time.
There are, however, a number of indications that the sector is finally making strides in this area. Big tech companies have reported an increased number of women in their workforces in recent years, and more companies are formalizing their DEI plans. Though these changes may feel small today, they indicate that the tech industry is recognizing DEI as more than a passing trend. When nurtured and cultivated overtime, we can look forward to a day when DEI is treated as a pillar of every business growth strategy.
Additionally, LinkHuman’s research shows that based on the top 10 tech companies, a commitment to DEI yields immediate and long-term results. This looks like:
- The inclusion of LGBTQ employees - Ensuring that job listings, employee handbooks, and company policies directly address and protect a culture where everyone is welcome.
- The empowerment of people of color - Making intentional hiring decisions to grow a diverse workforce, and not just to check a box. Companies must also elevate and empower the voices of everyone, so all employees at every level, feel invited to share their opinion.
- The multiculturalism being cultivated in the workplace - Tech can often feel like a sterile environment, making it all the more important to invite culture into the workplace. Uniqueness should be celebrated! Company events, observing holidays, and encouraging the sharing of cultural education needs to be a key part of the overall company culture.
The support of women and working mothers - Females, especially mothers with young children, have added demands placed upon them. A successful DEI strategy needs to recognize and support gender differences to provide additional resources and policies to primary caretakers.
It’s encouraging to see the top 10 tech companies take a unified stand in recognizing the importance of DEI in the workplace. This chart represents significant progress and intentionality in the tech industry to improve DEI. These companies, and many like them, have woken up to the valuable role of DEI. It’s here to stay - and grow - and so should a company’s focus on supporting DEI long-term.
DEI continues to be a top priority for tech companies. Entire teams are being built on the focus of enhancing DEI. Not only are tech companies strategically making diverse hires, but they’re tasking key employees with roles and responsibilities focused on building out entire DEI plans for future growth. This is why the tech industry needs you!
When you’re ready to explore your future career in tech…think NuPaths!
NuPaths is committed to providing a path to a tech career for everyone. If you’re interested in launching a tech career, then this is a perfect time. NuPaths is here to provide you with information and resources. Our experienced student success coordinators are happy to speak with you further about the programs we provide and how they can help you achieve your career aspirations. Click here to fill out our contact form and we will assist you directly.