IWD 2023: Equity for profit - The benefits of a diverse workforce in the ICT industry
The technology industry is one of the most innovative and transformative sectors in ANZ. From smartphones to social media platforms, technology has transformed the way we live, work, and interact with each other. However, it is also a sector that has long struggled with issues of diversity and equity. Diverse representation in the industry, particularly in leadership positions, has been limited, resulting in a technology landscape that can, at times, be homogeneous and lacking in varied perspectives.
Fortunately, the majority of the industry now acknowledges the importance of embracing equity and diversity to build more inclusive and innovative companies. From hiring more diverse candidates to addressing bias in technology, there are several ways that the ICT industry can work towards greater equity in the industry, and we have seen some great progress throughout the ANZ region.
One key step is to address the pipeline problem. This means working to increase diversity at all stages of the technology talent pipeline, from early education and training to internships and full-time positions. A career in the ICT industry is sought after by many. However, it is important to recognise the barriers to entry which make it a challenging profession to pursue. In order to rectify this inequity in opportunity, there are opportunities for industry firms and policymakers to partner with schools and community organisations to offer mentorship and training programs to underrepresented demographics.
Another important aspect of embracing equity in the technology industry is to prioritise equity in product development. This means designing products and services that are inclusive and cater to the needs of different demographics. For example, in 2020, Lenovo introduced its Product Diversity Office to embed D&I into its product design and development process to make its hardware accessible to more demographics.
In addition to these steps, companies can also work to create a culture of equity and inclusion within their organisations. This means prioritising diversity and inclusion in company values and policies, and ensuring that all employees feel supported and valued. It also means taking steps to address any instances of discrimination or bias within the company and providing resources and support to employees who have experienced discrimination or harassment.
Embracing equity in the technology industry is not only the right thing to do but also essential to ensure relevance. Diverse teams with a range of perspectives and experiences are more likely to come up with creative solutions and identify new opportunities for growth. In addition, building more inclusive companies can help to attract and retain top talent, as employees increasingly value companies that prioritise diversity and inclusion.
Ultimately, building a more equitable and inclusive technology industry will require a sustained effort from all stakeholders. Companies, educators, and policymakers must all work together to ensure that the pipeline of talent is diverse and inclusive and that bias and discrimination are addressed at all levels.