Are technology companies placing the same emphasis on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) programs as before the pandemic? That’s a vital question, as tech professionals have indicated in repeated surveys that a more diverse workplace makes them more inclined to stay with a particular company.
CompTIA’s new Workforce and Learning Trends 2023 report, which breaks down current hiring trends for technology professionals, has good news on that front: some 52 percent of HR professionals reported “their organization’s status with DEIB efforts was regaining or generating momentum” while 32 percent said their DEIB efforts were “moving to the next level.”
However, challenges remain for both DEIB and Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) programs, including:
In other words, while many companies want to launch DEIB programs, they might have a difficult time figuring out priorities or securing essential C-suite buy-in. “Evelyn R. Carter, a social psychologist, and Natalie Johnson, cofounder and managing director of Paradigm, indicated that while 60 percent of their study’s participants reported having DEI strategies in place, these strategies didn’t ‘always focus on the right goals or accountability partners,’” the report added. “Only 28 percent of the companies held C-suite executives accountable for the progress of a DEI strategy, for instance.”
DEIB programs must also break down some longstanding issues in tech, which will take quite a bit of dedication, resources, and time. According to Dice’s new Discrimination in Tech fact sheet, for example, some 24 percent of tech professionals said they experienced racial discrimination in 2022, compared to 18 percent the previous year; meanwhile, some 26 percent reported gender discrimination, a notable increase from 21 percent. That’s not something a company can solve with a few DEIB-themed seminars; there needs to be systemic cultural change.
For those team leaders and project managers trying to convince senior executives that DEIB investment is worth it, bringing up retention is always a solid tactic. Discrimination can have huge impacts on a workforce’s burnout rate, perception of compensation fairness, satisfaction, and general quality of life—potentially driving employees out the door and into the arms of a competitor. At a time when companies everywhere are fighting to secure specialized tech professionals, a robust DEIB program can mean the difference between building out a successful tech team or failing miserably on the talent front.