Tech firms are moving faster than ever before. Innovation has always been at the forefront, but the pace is now changing – and accelerating each year with more agility. With the raw talent that the industry attracts, companies that cannot keep up with the tempo find it hard to keep up with the competition.
Now is the time to disrupt. Or is it?
Unfortunately, while the tech sector’s progress is undeniable, the diversity of the workforce leaves a lot to be desired, particularly when it comes to the Black community. Today, Black employees make up around 7% of the workforce in tech, a low percentage that indicates the severity of the underrepresentation they face. Such disparity isn’t only detrimental to the Black community or the tech sector, but is an issue of national importance. Companies need to act fast, or they’ll be left behind.
The Problem? The Tech Industry's Lack Of Diversity
Many tech companies still need to move the needle on diversity. The industry that encourages innovations seems closed off to acquiring a diverse pool of talent. Blame it on a lack of qualified candidates, the referral system, pre-selections, or firms unwilling to offer equal opportunities; the tech environment is somewhat less welcoming to people who reflect the world. Even if they are hired, the hurdles don’t end there. The endless roadblocks get them looking for the exit even before getting started – layoffs which will only continue to slow down the diversity and equity efforts.
Since the murder of George Floyd, many big names have made big promises. They were dedicated to hiring and retaining Black employees, pledging millions to support the effort, and funding racial justice nonprofits. However, Black professionals have been seeing waves of commitments come and go, waiting to see concrete changes in the hiring and mentoring processes.
The Solution: Diversity Cyber Council's "Tech Is The New Trap" Campaign
To bring about a structural change, Diversity Cyber Council, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is excited to launch “Tech is the New Trap,” a campaign to create an equitable path for the underrepresented demographics. They aim to establish a sustainable and diverse talent pipeline in the tech sector via proper education, training, mentoring, and staffing opportunities.
“Our vision is to enhance inclusion and representation in the tech industry,” a company representative said. “It is our mission with Tech is the New Trap to help the underrepresented groups access entrepreneurial and career opportunities to enter the cybersecurity and technology workforce.”
Diversity in tech is integral not only to the company’s progress, but also to long-term business sustainability. Diversity encourages greater collaboration, newer learnings, sound interactions, higher productivity, and better decision-making. Different voices lead to newer inventions, financial prosperity, and capturing of newer markets. There’s a competitive advantage, leading the sector to greater heights and a better work culture.
“A range of ethnicities breaks biases and encourages rapid digital transformation. Also, representation matters for those who want to break into the tech and innovation space. It bridges the digital divide and encourages belongingness,” the company representative said.
Investing In Training
The Diversity Cyber Council team believes there must be hands-on training for people of color so they can use their skills to get into the sector. Policies should be in place to make it easier for minorities to attend college and other programs, with realistic costs and criteria. A representative said, “If we could knock down the barriers and be responsive to the needs, we will have an innovative and inclusive economy.” For more information on the kind of programs that potential candidates can invest in, visit www.diversitycybercouncil.com/programs.
Hire Based On Skills
Companies must hire based on skillsets rather than biases. Hiring managers must conduct performance-based interviews to remove preferences and remain fair. Tech companies are mostly white and male. But many are introducing a change. Besides, they are also removing the high school/post-secondary degree requirements for new hires to welcome a diverse talent pool.
Broaden The Horizon
Find common ground and diversify the network with humanity. Workplaces must normalize calling in or calling out unconsciously biased behavior compassionately to retain the workforce. Currently, it is like filling the bathtub with the drain plug open. If businesses want to thrive, they should analyze and change their practices to root out behaviors that alienate particular groups.
Acquire And Retain Top Talent With Diversity, Equity And Inclusion (DEI)
Without a doubt, it takes a highly-diversified team to achieve bigger goals. Every team member has a different experience, perspective, and skill set. Diversity really adds value to the tech sector, especially in leadership roles, as they can provide the needed support and mentorship, enabling teams to advance their careers.
It is now, more than ever, the time for companies to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion to outperform their competitors. Diversity should be the norm. The tech sector may be far from there, but the potential remains. Nonprofits like Diversity Cyber Council are acknowledging the imbalance and taking steps toward real change.
Now What? Next Steps For Diversity Cyber Council's "Tech Is The New Trap"
Supporting efforts from the Black community and marginalized communities is crucial if we want to move things forward. Diversity Cyber Council aims to break down barriers and provide under-represented groups with access to the resources they need to succeed in the tech industry in multiple ways, such as the Tech is the New Trap campaign.
Tech is the New Trap will create an equitable path for underrepresented demographics, to help them gain access to entrepreneurship and more career opportunities in the technological sector. By leveraging music, art and entertainment, they wish to raise awareness about this issue and get as many people involved as possible.
Support Tech is the New Trap by clicking here.
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Featured image: (C) Diversity Cyber Council