January 27, 2020

3 minutes

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The importance of building a diverse technology team

With an increasing amount of research showing a significant link between business performance and gender and ethnic diversity, now is the time to review your diversity and inclusion strategy.

Recent statistics show that the tech sector, while expanding three times faster than the rest of the UK economy, is still lagging behind other sectors when it comes to diverse teams. Only 15% of the tech workforce are from BAME backgrounds and gender diversity is currently sitting at 19% compared to 49% for all other jobs.

Why does diversity in the workplace matter?

Companies with diverse teams perform better and are more productive than those without. Research by McKinsey shows that businesses with gender diverse teams outperform their counterparts by 21%, while culturally diverse teams were 33% more likely to experience above average profitability. Having people from different backgrounds and cultures working together encourages greater innovation and creativity as people will have different approaches to the job and will share different solutions to the challenges presented to them.

By having a wider range of experiences and cultures within a team means there is likely to be a clearer understanding of potential customers and clients. The team will be able relate to and understand customer requirements better, giving the organisation a much deeper insight into its customer base.

Having a clear diversity and inclusion strategy can help an organisation attract a broader range of candidates for job vacancies, whilst having an inclusive culture can lead to higher employee engagement and retention as they see evidence of the employer embracing equal opportunities.

All of this will ultimately give the organisation a competitive edge and will increase brand reputation as people regard them as a good employer. Employees will feel more respected and clients will feel more valued.

How can you increase diversity within your technology team?

Despite all the evidence showing the benefits of diversity and inclusion, some companies are still unsure about how they can effectively use diversity and inclusion to support their growth strategy and attract a more diverse workforce. We’ve looked at some simple steps that can be taken to improve diversity within your team.

Showcase role models

Role models are important because they give us the ability to imagine our future selves. The more closely we identify with these role models, the easier it is to imagine ourselves in their position.

There are some incredibly talented people in the industry from diverse backgrounds that we could, and should, be bringing into the spotlight.

You can share the stories of your existing workforce to inspire others to apply.

Write inclusive job adverts

Job adverts should also use inclusive language to persuade a wider range of candidates that it is worthwhile applying. It’s all about consciously using language that doesn’t marginalise groups of people.

We have three top tips for writing inclusive job adverts:

  1. Keep the language simple: Avoid acronyms, jargon and colloquialisms etc.
  2. Use both masculine and feminine -coded language (more information here)
  3. Think about what benefits matter to different groups of candidates: Flexible working, comfortable workspaces, childcare, financial bonuses, working culture, large computer screens, accessible offices, nearby parking etc. Some things will matter more to different people.

Encourage parents back to work

Having a family, should not hamper a person’s promotion potential. Firms should actively support parents as they return to the workplace after parental leave.

Retain your existing talent and put thought into how you will make coming back to work a pleasant experience for returning parents.

Think “re-onboarding” plans, flexible work options, professional development coaching and empathy training for line managers.

Build a strong diversity and inclusion strategy

A strong diversity and inclusion strategy can help your organisation attract a broader range of niche technology and digital skills and bring in all the benefits we mention above. At Jumar, we believe that Diversity and Inclusion strategies must start with educating our existing workforce and gaining their understanding and commitment as to the importance of a diverse team. That’s why we have ensured all our existing staff have attended Diversity and Inclusion awareness sessions and have signed a pledge to confirm their commitment to an inclusive and welcoming workforce. We have also been helping clients develop their own robust diversity and inclusion strategies in order to attract top technology talent into their teams.