The emergence of new technology requires more skilled and job-ready tech professionals from a wide variety of countries, backgrounds, and identities.
Technology jobs are created every single day! However, during recruiting and placement, many tech corporations and startups fail to cast a wide enough net to catch diverse talent. The tech industry, as a result, faces racial, gender, and age deficits. According to research, more than US$16Bn is lost each year by tech companies for a lack of diversity within their teams.
Increasing inclusivity and incorporating people of various identities can provide long-term benefits for tech companies. What are the benefits, you may ask? We explore a few right below!
Everybody uses technology. From kids submitting their homework on learning platforms, to the elderly looking at pictures of their grandchildren, we all rely on technology for our everyday lives.
However, not everyone is properly represented within the tech industry. The tech ecosystem’s goals of modernizing and innovating create an environment of ageism. Someone in the technology sector is considered old by the time they are 35. Looking at the top tech corporations in the world (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft), only 25% of their staff is female.
We need everyone to be onboard in tech! When we incorporate more representation for people of all ages, genders, and colors, we ensure that their experiences are accounted for when creating and improving digital products. A diverse workforce also brings wider skillsets and more ideas to the table. Having ideas challenged by different viewpoints instigates creativity, problem-solving, and innovation.
As previously mentioned, markets lose billions of dollars when companies don’t have a diverse work environment. The root of this loss comes from lower employee productivity at such companies. Employee performance saw 12% more efficiency in organizations that had highly diverse ages, genders, races, ethnicities, and geographical backgrounds within their workforce.
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, according to McKinsey & Company’s Diversity Matters report.
Making employees feel welcomed, with accommodating policies supporting minorities and diversity, is creating the conditions for more motivated and effective teams.
Closing the Tech Skills Shortage
The world is in a position where many more tech jobs are available than the amount of skilled people who can fill them. This tech skills shortage is preventing us from exploring the full potential of emerging technology. One of the solutions we can implement is widening our scope of tech recruiting.
Many tech companies are seeking talent primarily in the same tech hubs and epicenters, including Silicon Valley, New York City, Seattle, London, and Tel Aviv. By doing so, companies are inadvertently creating competition amidst people who have nearly identical demographic and educational backgrounds. They are losing out on highly qualified people outside of metropolitan areas. With remote work becoming the new normal, companies can source talent from a larger talent pool all around the world, and gain the advantages of diversity!
Initiatives for Inclusion in the Israeli Tech Ecosystem
Countries like Israel are systematically changing to incorporate more diverse backgrounds into the tech industry, and implementing tech education as early as elementary school. Through government initiatives, the Israel Ministry of Education, and the Israel Innovation Authority, the Israeli tech sector’s workforce has grown to more than 400,000 people.
While Israeli universities produce 6,000 computer science and engineering graduates a year, many Israelis receive tech training through the Isareli Defense Force (IDF), which is mandatory and open to all segments of the Israeli population. The IDF, therefore, trains many Israelis of diverse backgrounds to tech positions such as Cybersecurity Analysts, Data Scientists, and Software Engineers.
The best part is that almost every Israeli has access to tech training! The Talpiot and i-Rox projects have trained over a thousand devoutly religious women in Israel into Software Engineers and QA testers. Another project, Galil Software, which focused their efforts on the rural parts of northern Israel, trained Arab and Jewish developers (also people over 40). Eran Lasser, CEO of Wawiwa Tech, says, “the best examples of tech training I have been involved in have been with companies that reskill diverse people, and then transform them to be software developers.”
For women, Wawiwa Tech’s Vice President Leah Mansoor, has experienced firsthand the benefits of inclusive tech training. Leah’s successful career in the tech sector can be traced back to her time in the IDF, where she was recruited to the IDF’s Center of Computing and Information Systems, MAMRAM.
Leah was gratefully surprised to see that half of her peers were women, stating, “being part of a tech environment that not only treats women as equal, but also advances women to senior leadership roles, ensured that I never felt discouraged or out of place and always had female role models that inspired me.”
A significant skills shortage of tech professionals still remains as Israel’s tech scene continues to boom. Various initiatives are still attempting to bring diverse talent and populations to tech professions.
Take Action for Diversity
The entry ticket to tech used to require a college or university degree, something that was not easily accessible to underprivileged populations. Now, reskilling is a possibility for anyone, with or without a background in tech, in a matter of months!
For instance, Wawiwa Tech is a tech training provider that works with global partners to offer reskilling and upskilling programs to tech positions relevant to local tech ecosystems. Wawiwa Tech has partners in countries like Sri Lanka, where tourism, agriculture, and textiles are still the dominant industries.
The time for change is now! HR leaders and managers in corporations should be taking time to assess their core values, hiring strategies, and overall workplace culture to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are an integral component. Creating tech spaces where everyone can freely contribute is a goal every single tech company should be striving for.