IT workplace diversity is still a challenge

A Kantar study for Global Workplace Providers Instant Offices shows more than a quarter of women (27 percent) across the world still report being made to feel like they do not belong in their workplace.

Employees who are part of an ethnic minority often face daily struggles, with 13 percent feeling excluded at work and 11 percent  saying they are treated differently in the workplace due to their ethnicity.

In the UK, tech employees are five times more stressed than the average UK worker, with 14 percent per cent of people saying their ethnicity has negatively impacted their career progression. In addition, 31 percent of Asian and South East Asian and 40 percent of Afro-Caribbean employees in tech have experienced discrimination because of their ethnicity. Within the UK tech industry, 78 percent of people are under 45 years old, 69 per cent are white and 88 percent are heterosexual.

Overall, the major tech industries of Silicon Valley are largely dominated by white and Asian employees, with little representation of black, Latinx and other ethnicities. Women make up just 19 percent of the tech sector and just 12.6 percent of those in senior positions.

The Health and Pharmaceutical industry have been shown to have the most balanced gender representation at a senior level with 60 percent . The tech industry lags far behind at 35 percent, with an Inclusion Index hovering at just over half that of Health and Pharma.

Lucinda Pullinger, Global Head of HR for The Instant Group, said: “it’s important to remember that a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture are different. If you have diversity, you don’t necessarily have inclusion. There is the argument that inclusion should be a key focus before diversity, otherwise you run the risk of creating a diverse organisation in which the diversity isn’t valued or harnessed due to a lack of inclusion.

“For things to improve, the focus on diversity in organisations needs to be ongoing and measured. It’s also really important for companies to be transparent about their commitment to diversity to attract and retain the right talent. Examining company policies around equal pay, competitive maternity leave and flexible hours is a good place to start.”

Companies that know how to promote equality and diversity at work have a significant competitive advantage:

• Higher levels of employee engagement
• Higher levels of innovation and creativity
• Better decision-making and problem-solving
• Increased profits
• Lower staff turnover
• Better company reputation

Diverse workplaces enjoy a wider variety of skills, experiences and perspectives, which all contribute to a more successful way of doing business. It also enables companies to relate to their wider customer base easier, which is especially important in B2C environments.

As more reports and surveys continue to shed light on where diversity is lacking, employers are encouraged to embrace the push for a fully diverse workforce and help the business world become a more progressive place.