In business, and especially tech, challenges to diversity and inclusion have seen a lot of press in 2017, but not a lot of progress as you’ll see below in the data. Thankfully there are a range of leaders who are tackling D&I head-on with best practice, research, tools and communities. I applaud these pioneers and social innovators who are working to create a more equal and just workplace for us all.
We’re still seeing ridiculous disparities throughout business and tech. In brief:
- Female Founders Got 2% of Venture Capital Dollars in 2017. (Fortune)
- There Are Currently 4 Black CEOs in the Fortune 500. (The Atlantic)
- There are half as many African Americans and Hispanics in tech as in the rest of the private sector. (U.S. EEOC via Tech Republic)
- 50% of women in STEM jobs say they have experienced gender discrimination at work. Among women in STEM jobs with a post-grad degree, work in a computer job, or work in a mostly male workplace, 62%, 74%, and 78%, say they have experienced gender discrimination, respectively. (Pew Research)
If those statistics don’t speak to you, then perhaps the significant research around diversity’s “business case” will. In the words of Michelle Kim, co-founder and CEO of Awaken, “Here’s all the data you need to put together the D&I “business case” pitch deck. For the love of sweet baby goddess, stop wasting your precious time doing research that’s been done too many times before.”
Pulled from Michelle’s medium article, “Compilation of Diversity & Inclusion “Business Case” Research Data:”
- “1990: Harvard Business Review published “From Affirmative Action to Affirming Diversity” in which it stated, “In business terms, a diverse work force is not something your company ought to have; it’s something your company does have, or soon will have. Learning to manage that diversity will make you more competitive.”
- 1991: The Academy of Management published “Managing Cultural Diversity: Implications for Organizational Competitiveness” and concluded managing diversity gives organizations a competitive advantage.
- 2009: American Sociological Association published “Diversity Linked To Increased Sales Revenue And Profits, More Customers” and shared their incredible finding that “companies reporting the highest levels of racial diversity brought in nearly 15 times more sales revenue on average than those with the lowest levels of racial diversity.”
- 2010: Kellogg School of Management published “Better Decisions through Diversity” in which it linked heterogeneity to innovative ideas and better team performance.
- 2013: Deloitte published “Waiter, is that inclusion in my soup?” in which they tied diversity and inclusion to better business performance (83%), responsiveness to customer needs (31%), and team collaboration (42%).
- 2013: Center for Talent Innovation published “Innovation, Diversity, and Market Growth” in which it found that publicly traded companies with 2D diversity (exhibiting both inherent and acquired diversity) were 70% more likely to capture a new market, 75% more likely to see ideas actually become productized, and 158% (no, that’s not a typo) more likely to understand their target end-users and innovate effectively if one or more members on the team represent the user’s demographic.
- 2014: Deloitte published “From diversity to inclusion” in which it stressed the importance of both diversity and inclusion in building high performing organizations and called diversity a business imperative: “And this means that diversity is no longer a “program” to be managed — it is a business imperative.”
- 2014: Stephen Frost, in his book, “The Inclusion Imperative” notes that “discriminating against women, homosexuals, and disabled people is costing $64 billion dollars a year in the U.S. alone.”
- 2015: McKinsey & Company publishes “Why Diversity Matters,” in which it notes that “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians,”
- 2017: Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report shows the rising priority level of D&I among executives compared to previous years. Over two-thirds of executives rate D&I as an important issue while 38% of executives report their CEOs (not HR) being the primary sponsor of D&I initiatives. The report also highlights the alarming reality gap which shows most companies’ D&I maturity levels being “very low.”
- 2017: Boston Consulting Group (BCG) revealed its research that shows companies’ “Total Societal Impact” has proven to be a statistically significant in creating a reliable growth path, a reduced risk of negative, even cataclysmic, events, and, most likely, increased longevity.
- 2017/2018: McKinsey & Company released another set of research findings that once again confirmed the statistical significance of having gender- and race-based diversity leading to better financial performance. It reminded the reader that “Creating an effective inclusion and diversity strategy is no small effort and requires strong, sustained, and inclusive leadership. But we, and many of the companies we studied, believe the potential benefits of stronger business performance are well worth it.”
Resources To Build More Diverse and Inclusive Companies:
Now that we’ve established the problem and its importance, we need to get to work towards building more diverse and inclusive workspaces. Fortunately, there are exceptionally smart people building resources to help firms analyze and improve how they handle diversity and inclusion. We’ve included a small sampling of the resources that we’ve found helpful:
Project Include: Recommendations and Best Practice.
“Project Include’s mission is to give everyone a fair chance to succeed in tech. We are a non-profit that uses data and advocacy to accelerate diversity and inclusion solutions in the tech industry.”
Women in Tech: The Facts – NCWIT: An overview of key statistics surrounding women in tech and recommendations for how to move forward.
Data and Transparency:
Google Diversity Insights: Research and Tools.
“Understanding bias and its intersection with our workplace–and the communities around us– is crucial to creating change. And sharing those insights is even more important. Here, you’ll find a collection of the conversations, programs, research that have informed and inspired Google’s diversity efforts.”
Open Diversity Data: Repository of company diversity reports.
“Companies already collect data about their employee demographics. Let’s ask them to publish it. Open diversity data will make it easier for everyone to better understand the diversity landscape and work toward solutions.”
Diversity List: Tech company diversity scores.
“We looked into gender and race diversity in 200 fast-growing technology companies like [x] and scored them from 1 👎 to 100 👍”
Tools and Products:
TalVista: Data-driven hiring that helps remove unconscious biases.
“TalVista provides a view beyond the noise of unconscious bias, ensuring a skilled talent pool and workforce that is more diverse and inclusive.”
Aticipa: An AI product focused on building diverse teams.
“Building the world’s first Inclusive AI for the talent life cycle. Atipica helps you understand and build diverse teams.”
Jopwell: “The leading career advancement platform for Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals”
National Center for Women & Information Technology: “The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is the only national non-profit focused on women’s participation in computing across the entire ecosystem, helping more than 1,100 organizations recruit, retain, and advance women from K-12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers by providing support, evidence, and action.”
Code 2040: “Code2040 is a community of Black and Latinx technologists and their allies who are diversifying tech to create a more equitable, inclusive, and prosperous economy.”
Girls Who Code: Community with classes focused on closing the gender gap in tech.
Out in Tech: A community to unite LGBTQ+ in tech.
Latinotech.co: A community built to “strengthen Latinx leadership in technology through entrepreneurship.”
Additional lists of resources:
Folkswhocode / awesome-diversity via Github: An impressive list of resources sorted into the categories: organizations, events, ally resources, actionable resources, posts, talks, advocates, books, and notable figures.
Recommended Reading for Allies – Code as Craft, Etsy: A list of resources focused on how to be an ally within the context of gender equality.
West Stringfellow spent over 20 years launching products and leading innovation at corporate giants and startups, holding management roles at Target, PayPal, VISA, Rosetta Stone, GraysOnline and Amazon.
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