Diversity in corporate culture, particularly gender diversity, is a buzzword in today’s business world. The tech industry is no exception. However, framing gender diversity as a ‘trend’ undermines its inherent value.
Hiring more women in tech should not be an exercise in trend hopping. Instead, it should be a deliberate, intentional effort to balance diversity and gender distribution in the workplace and the industry at large.
Let’s delve into why gender diversity should move beyond being a trendy checkbox on a corporate social responsibility report and become a fundamental part of how tech companies operate.
Current state of gender diversity in tech
To appreciate the necessity of fostering gender diversity in tech, it’s essential to understand the current state of affairs. The Global Tech Talent Trends 2023 report offers a stark reality check: In Portugal, for example, 80% of tech professionals are male, with men earning, on average, 35% more than women in the tech industry.
These figures are not isolated to Portugal but reflective of a broader, global trend.
The economic disparity problem
A closer look at the gender disparity in the tech industry reveals not only a numerical imbalance but also a considerable economic divide. Data from the Global Tech Talent Trends 2022 report shows that men’s salaries varied positively more than women’s by around 11%. Moreover, women saw their wages lowered more than men from 2021 to 2022.
These disparities are more than a reflection of the ‘gender wage gap’ – they are symptoms of systemic imbalances in the tech industry that need addressing.
Why gender diversity matters
Research has repeatedly shown that diversity fosters innovation, improves decision-making, and enhances company performance. A McKinsey & Company study showed that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than those in the bottom quartile.
Gender diversity also affects the appeal of the industry to prospective talent. The tech industry risks alienating half the potential talent pool by not promoting a diverse and inclusive environment. This could have serious repercussions for an industry that thrives on innovation and creative problem-solving.
Moving beyond trendiness
Companies in the tech sector need to move beyond seeing gender diversity as a mere trend or PR stunt. This isn’t about jumping on the latest bandwagon to improve brand image. It’s about fundamentally transforming the structure and culture of tech workplaces.
By making gender diversity a core business strategy, tech companies can unlock a wealth of untapped potential and talent. The industry must cultivate a culture that not only invites diversity but also ensures that once diverse talent is recruited, it is nurtured, valued, and given equal opportunities for advancement.
Addressing gender imbalances in tech also means acknowledging and tackling the systemic biases that contribute to wage gaps and career progression disparities. This may require policies that ensure equal pay for equal work, bias training for hiring managers and nurturing environments that support and promote women in tech.
The pursuit of gender diversity in the tech industry should not be a trend, but a strategic imperative. Companies need to embrace this not just for the sake of ‘diversity’ but to foster a vibrant, innovative, and fair work environment that propels the industry forward.
By adopting and normalising gender-balanced teams, the tech industry can inch closer to a future where discussions about gender disparities will be a thing of the past.