Why We Need Inclusivity in Technology
The tech industry might be one of the most exciting, innovative and forward-thinking industries on the planet. But when it comes to diversity, it continues to fall short. Often considered a male-centric industry, tech companies have faced on-going criticism for their lack of representation of groups such as women, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.
A study by techUK, discovered that only 8.5% of senior leaders in UK tech companies are from ethnic minority groups, only 19% of IT professionals are female, and only 9% of all IT specialists have a disability. Naturally these figures are a cause for concern.
From introducing programmes that encourage women and minorities to consider a career in STEM to increasing representation at leadership level, many companies are starting to address the diversity imbalances within their industry. However, while these efforts to make change are a positive step in the right direction, they may prove to be meaningless if inclusivity isn’t included too.
What is Inclusivity?
At its core, the meaning of inclusivity is equality and belonging for all, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religion. This also extends to education, personal background or previous work experience. As companies increase the diversity of their teams, its vital that inclusivity plays a key role in ensuring each employee feels included and supported, while also being treated equally by their colleagues.
Unfortunately, the tech industry is already experiencing some of the negative impacts that can come from not making inclusivity a priority alongside diversity. According to research by InnovateHer, a lack of inclusivity is a major driving force behind why 45% more women than men leave the tech industry each year, with half of them leaving before they turn 35.
These statistics show that more work still needs to be done to foster inclusivity within the tech industry, particularly as diversity efforts increase. Aside from retaining their employees, here are some other important reasons why the tech industry needs inclusivity:
Attract Prospective Employees
It’s been widely reported that the UK tech industry is facing a skills shortage and lack of talent. This has made hiring increasingly competitive as companies battle it out to secure the best tech talent. Believe it or not, inclusivity could help companies in the industry stand apart from their competitors and attract the best of the best. In a report by Glassdoor, 65% of job seekers said that inclusion is an important factor to then when looking for new roles.
An inclusive workplace is an attractive trait because it shows prospective employees that they will be appreciated, welcomed and supported within the company. This can be particularly important to those who may have faced gender-bias, racism or other forms of prejudice in previous roles. Research by LinkedIn found that companies who talked openly about diversity and inclusion saw applications from women increase by 26%.
There’s no denying that technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives; from how we communicate with each other to the way we shop. We all use technology in one way or another. However, if only one demographic is responsible for the planning and implementation of tech products and services, tech companies will quickly find that they are only catering to that same demographic, with little thought to any others.
By having a more diverse and inclusive workforce involved in this process, the tech industry can benefit from ideas and outlooks that stem from different cultures, genders, ethnicities and so much more. This will enable them to create innovative technology that is more inclusive and thoughtful of all potential users, particularly those who may be currently overlooked in the market.
Increase Customer Loyalty
It’s not just prospective employees who are interested in tech companies’ diversity and inclusion efforts. Recent studies have found that 67% of consumers are likely to make a second purchase from a brand they believe is committed to diversity and inclusion, with 34% saying they would be swayed toward the more diverse company should they be faced with competing products.
Like most industries, the tech industry is always looking for ways in which they can foster and maintain customer loyalty, especially in the current climate. By showing a genuine and ongoing interest and commitment to improving inclusivity within their workforce, tech companies could find that their customer and client loyalty increases as a result.
2-4 Exchange Street,
St Ann’s Square,
2248 Broadway #1309,