Why Diversity in IT Matters

July 31st, 2020
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Jostling for position for the most popular headline in today’s news cycle, diversity and inclusion issues have captured the nation’s attention with an unprecedented firmness. And for good reason.

There have long been persistent inequities in many systems of our society, especially in the workplace. Technology, IT, and adjacent industries are no exception, and, in fact, are arguably areas in which diversity and inclusion initiatives have been the most lacking.

As recently as 2017, men held 76% of technical jobs, and a shocking 95% of the tech workforce, regardless of gender, was white. Considering the incredible diverse makeup of this country, it’s troubling to consider the number of unique ideas currently unable to present themselves to such an impactful industry.

As a recent Forbes article explains, “the people creating this technology have the power to influence how it works, and that’s too big a responsibility for any single demographic to have full control. A lack of diverse ideas and representation could lead to further disparities between gender, race, and class.”

Beyond just the ideological and humanitarian concerns, there are real, measurable business reasons for organizations to be made up of as diverse a workforce as possible.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology conducted a study of 2,360 companies and discovered that “companies with women on their executive boards outperformed companies with all-male executive boards. Gender diverse management teams showed superior returns on equity, debt/equity ratios, price/equity ratios, and average growth.”

If you’re skeptical of the NCWIT’s research methods, we’re spoiled for choice in selecting supporting studies.

Another study conducted by McKinsey revealed that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform those in the bottom quartile for diversity, and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform companies with lower diversity metrics.

Not a fan of McKinsey? No problem.

Boston Consulting Group published a study in which 1,700 companies of various sizes and from various industries provided a “strong and statistically significant correlation between the diversity of management teams and overall innovation.” These high-diversity companies reported innovation revenue nearly 20% higher companies than their less diverse counterparts.

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