Whenever I’m asked to give a talk on the lack of diversity in tech it’s easy to quote the statistics; only 19% of tech roles in the NW are female, only 10% of computing science A-levels nationally are female. I talk about the societal drivers behind these statistics, delving into what causes this; from negative gender stereotypes to the lack of role models through to the pipeline problem. I then go on to outline how we’ve created a solution to some of these issues, through our programmes.
But I’m sometimes asked why diversity matters at all. Surely, we’ve been creating technology that is fit for purpose without diverse teams behind the design, development and testing of the solutions? Well actually, no.
Here’s just 5 reasons why diversity in our workplaces really matters;
1. We are more profitable
The gender gap in tech costs the UK economy an estimated £63 billion per annum and it will cost us an estimated £150 billion by 2025 in missed Gross Value Added, according to Mckinsey Global Institute. Yet if your senior leadership team is 30% female, it is said to increase profits by 15%.
The digital skills gap in the UK is well documented with thousands of jobs remaining unfilled each year. It is intrinsically linked to the gender diversity issue; if we only fish in half of the available pond we obviously reduce our talent pool significantly.
Take a look at this great article for more on the business case.
2. We create better solutions, which are more suited to the diverse market they serve
Did you know that Dyson hand dryers initially did not recognise hands which were not white? Or that voice recognition software did not recognise female voices when it was first released?
All of these problems could have been avoided by employing a diverse team to create the solution. That’s not just a gender diverse team, but diversity in all its glorious technicolour, including age, ethnicity, background, sexuality and perhaps most of all thought diversity.
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