The Future of DEI for Tech Companies
The advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion is especially impactful in the technology industry, where unique perspectives and business approaches have led to product innovation, better decision-making, and higher performing teams. It may come as no surprise that gender-diverse and inclusive teams outperform gender-homogeneous, less inclusive teams by 50 percent on average.
Still, many tech companies are struggling to find solutions for underrepresentation, discrimination, and bias in the workplace. With 75 percent of software and tech employers feeling the pandemic has impacted their DEI efforts, there is a growing responsibility in the industry to move the needle forward.
The State of Diversity in Tech
To get a better understanding of the state of diversity in tech, let’s take a look at the numbers:
- The ratio of men to women in engineering is 5:1.
- In 2021, Women software engineers only earned 91 percent of what men earned.
- 58.43 percent of professional developers identify as White or of European descent.
- 5 percent of the women in tech are Asian, 3 percent are Black, and 1 percent are Hispanic
- Women make up only 11 percent of senior leadership roles at tech companies.
- Women of color represent only 4 percent of the C-suite and only 7 percent of VP roles at tech companies.
- 67 percent of tech companies are made up of less than 5 percent of Black employees.
- Only 11.5 percent of respondents identify as something other than straight or heterosexual.
- 72 percent of the female tech workforce feel constantly outnumbered in business meetings.
These statistics are startling, but tackling issues around disparity and equity starts with acknowledging how much progress actually needs to be made.
Integral to Company Culture
To attract, nurture, and retain diverse talent, tech companies must commit to creating workplace environments that foster belonging and psychological safety. They must have policies and practices in place to welcome individuals with varied backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and thoughts. Elements of inclusivity should be deeply integrated with employee engagement programs, hiring processes, educational resources, and leadership training—making it a core part of company culture.
It’s crucial for tech leaders and HR professionals to model the behavior they want employees to emulate, and take action to live out their company values with respect to diversity and inclusion. Practice using inclusive vocabulary, supporting employee activism, and sharing updates about what is being done to address the diversity issues affecting employees. Executive sponsorship and commitment to diversity and inclusion can create enthusiasm around DEI strategies and sustain the momentum needed to drive lasting change.
When setting company-specific DEI goals, consider strategies for diversity recruiting, establishing and supporting Employee Resource Groups, hosting unconscious bias training, and offering inclusive benefits. You can target specific issues around gender diversity by designing a women’s leadership development program with tailored curriculums. Understanding how to incorporate these foundational practices will set your organization up for measurable success with DEI in the long run.
DEI Metrics for Success
Using DEI metrics can help you assess how effective your initiatives are and where adjustments and improvements need to be made. Implementing employee engagement surveys, and hosting fireside chats, feedback sessions, or focus groups can help you leverage employee data to continually improve your DEI efforts. Keep in mind that systemic changes will take time and that holding yourself accountable to quantifiable goals will increase your chances of success.
As DEI continues to be a top priority for tech companies, what other trends can we expect to see in 2022? From enhancing the employee experience to offering the right benefits, check out our latest eBook to learn what the future of HR looks like for tech companies.
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