Diversity for diversity’s sake is not a productive conversation. Part I in our “Diversity in Tech” series showed that the consequences of diversity—creativity, profit, collective good and representation—should drive public discussion about the issue.
However, those factors get lost when stakeholders take the process personally, making diversity “us versus them” or even “me versus you.” Although certain minority groups stand to gain more than current workforce majority demographics, it’s not a zero-sum game. Everyone benefits from a multi-perspective cognitive engine.
Diversity in Tech for All
Individually, diversity has the potential to improve the lives of almost everyone. While our first post focused on how creativity and productivity affect the bottom line of companies, we’d like to emphasize that employees feel the positive effects first.
Before a sale is made or a product hits the shelf, diversity is hard at work from pitch to production. As iron sharpens iron, so does intelligence sharpen intelligence. Because various identities may come with unique strengths and skills, working within a diverse team improves personal abilities. Whether a coworker is more empathetic or has a unique design process, she or he leaves an impression of those talents for others to internalize.
When Diversity Doesn’t Exist
Social scientists have pointed to the problems that emerge when workforces homogenize and polarize. Workforces in a multicultural society that exclude the perspectives of minority groups experience critical issues in channels from employee interpersonal behavior to professional contributions. Right now, the technology industry is facing a crisis of emotional intelligence, market perspectives and educational background.
“Bad behavior” has been documented repeatedly at and by companies primarily employing or managed by men. From sexual harassment to “locker room” type male-male bullying, companies with low-to-no-diversity experience unique behavioral issues. This is especially true for disruptive technology organizations, such as Uber or Google. These types of organizations have hiring patterns created by faulty social science data that kept women and minorities out of the workforce, and then pushed them out of education pipelines as well.
It’s hypothesized, and partially proven, that female executive intelligence uniquely balances the cold of logic with the warmth of empathy. As a result, they can create healthier workplace environments, successfully manage risk and extend the life and productivity of teams.
Who Needs Diversity in Tech the Most?
Women, people of color, LGBTQ+ persons and individuals with intersectional identities need diversity in tech the most in terms of career opportunity and representation benefits. By creating new legacies of achievement, these individuals create new educational pipelines, inspire future techies and break cycles of isolation that diminish wealth among minority populations.
The fields of computing, especially cybersecurity, and engineering specifically face large, egregious disparities, over representing cisgendered, heteronormative, white and Asian males. Sadly, employment of women in these fields has gone down since 1990, and representation of other people of color has risen only marginally, despite both groups increasing college enrollment in relevant degree programs. Employment in technology and STEM fields becomes more likely for all demographics with advanced degrees, but white individuals, especially men, with little-to-no college experience are hired over educated people of color as a percentage.
Although the overall STEM workforce has diversified, with women occupying 50% of all roles, opportunities have not grown significantly for underrepresented ethnic minorities (URM) such as Filipinos and black people. As well, critical industries such as information technology have drifted more toward white, male workforces, creating a job shortage.
Consumers Need Diversity in Tech
While technology firms continue to create cutting-edge, advanced solutions, these products tend to cater to the lives of people just like the creators, failing to target large markets. Leaders in Silicon Valley have admitted that new development must come from a place of understanding society. How better to do that than by having a mini-version of society working for you?
Here are some of the market segments with the most influence or purchasing power in retail:
- Multi-generational households: This demographic reveals that one in five Americans live in multi-generational households. From grandparents to aunts and cousins or nieces, more homes include many family members. As a result, tech in the home must be user friendly for all these individuals, especially when considering the very young and the very old. Tech firms must be wary of limiting perspectives from the youngest innovators or seasoned product veterans.
- Millennial women: Less attached, more employed and more educated as well as less likely to move than earlier generations of women, millennial women have a steadily increasing purchasing power. From woman-owned and operated FinTech disruptions, such as Ellevest, to female-oriented wearable tech, the companies attracting this market have to look at what they want via the insight of female employees.
- Hispanics: Although many minorities are experiencing population growth, the Hispanic population is the fastest growing US demographic, and their purchasing power is growing with them. According to Buxton Co, their purchasing power will double by 2020.
Sealevel Wants Diversity in Tech
From our growing international market to our partners within our home state, Sealevel welcomes multicultural business opportunities. A world made by many voices offers a world with unlimited options where everyone’s technology needs are met.
As a step one, we are committed to equal opportunity employment. Check out our careers page and see if you could make your home here.