Cultivating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace, where everyone belongs, in the tech industry has been a hot topic for a long time.
Although significant progress has occurred in the industry, there’s still a long way to go when it comes to the representation of women and specifically, women of color.
According to a recent McKinsey report, women in technical roles remain underrepresented and even experienced a decline from 18% to 16% between 2018 and 2022.
For all businesses, data is the lifeblood in helping shape hiring practices and implement an effective diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) strategy.
To encourage more women in the workplace, organizations must foster a culture of openness and transparency, playing their part in making the technology industry as a whole a more diverse and inclusive environment.
Combatting diversity issues with data
It’s essential for organizations to first gain a full understanding of how their business is currently performing, and this is where data has a key role to play.
Data is often used to better understand customers and improve products to drive sales and meet business objectives.
Yet, businesses should also view data as a valuable asset for developing internal strategies to address workplace topics, such as recruitment or employee experience.
In order to gain effective insights, qualitative data has to be gathered through feedback from all employees.
Questions should be asked that cover all areas of the business, from whether an employee feels valued, to their opinions on their employer’s current DEIB initiatives and areas for improvement.
Data must be collected anonymously to encourage honest and sincere feedback; this is where technology comes in.
Dynamic data masking, for example, is a capability in modern cloud data platforms that enables companies to protect specific data and eliminate the risk of re-identification without diminishing the analytical value of the data.
Through the collection and analysis of employee feedback and demographic data, organizations can gauge the satisfaction levels of their employees and detect any possible biases or shortcomings in existing strategies that require attention.
Any points of concern within the data can enable organizations to tackle unconscious biases that favor employees from specific certain demographics – be it age, gender or race – resulting in a more diverse and equitable workforce.
As a whole, this approach can greatly improve employee retention rates while also fostering a culture that values the well-being of employees.
A long-term effort
Following the collection of employee data, these insights can then be used to inform decisions, implement new strategies, and ultimately ensure organizations have the right candidate for a job in place.
However, this cannot be a one-off effort. A continuous and long-term data collection process should be deployed for every part of the employee lifecycle, from recruitment, retention, pay, and promotion.
In order to proactively identify instances of bias or unfair treatment, it is crucial to consistently track and analyze the employee data available.
With the help of modern data analytics, we now have the capability to gather data from various departments in near real-time and enhance data accessibility for teams requiring it.
Ultimately we can now effectively bring together valuable insights to HR or the leadership team.
By tracking this data over time, businesses can have a better understanding of their procedures, their level of effectiveness, and re-examine if further improvements are still required.
Shaping an inclusive culture
Once the data is collected, analyzed, and gaps identified, it’s time for organizations to take action.
One area for improvement is the number of women in senior leadership roles. Role models are an integral part of attracting talent into any industry.
However, businesses can’t view this as a tick box exercise and think simply hiring women into leadership positions is the answer. This can actually cause more problems than it solves and will often be viewed as nothing more than tokenism.
Instead, once women are hired into leadership positions, they need to be empowered to have a voice within the organization, helping to shape corporate culture and instigate changes from the inside out.
Whilst companies have a crucial role in forging a diverse and equal workplace, they don’t have to do it alone. Various external charitable foundations and independent organizations – one example is Women in Data – have done a stellar job in supporting businesses’ DEIB journey.
By partnering with such companies, female leaders can build a broader network of women in tech that will provide them with mentorship and training opportunities.
It will truly take a village of different communities to collaborate and take action to work towards a more equitable and inclusive data and technology industry.
Towards a truly diverse workplace
Diversity is fundamental to the future success of the technology sector, and businesses that recognize this will be best placed to succeed.
Everyone has a part to play in diversity strategies, from junior employees to leadership teams and up to the C-suite; they should all have a voice and the means to speak up.
With the support of data and technology, an unbiased and fair work culture can be shaped, leading us towards a truly diverse industry.
To reverse the under-representation of female in the technology industry and to create the new role models of tomorrow, the time to act is now.
Sign up to the UNLEASH Newsletter
Get the Editor’s picks of the week delivered straight to your inbox!