The importance of diversity in tech when building the future for all of us
min video //
min read //
December 5, 2023
In the dynamic world of technology, having diversity in your team is increasingly becoming a strategic imperative, driving innovation, business success, and a more inclusive future.
As our technologies continue to develop and evolve, so does their impact. But in order for us to create significant and inclusive outcomes, we must embrace diversity in tech. By incorporating a rich tapestry of perspectives, experiences, and talents, we create a favorable environment for the tech industry to thrive.
Diversity in tech is not only ethical; it is also strategic, fuelling creativity, enhancing problem-solving, and driving success. Diverse teams are therefore very important in developing innovative ideas and outcomes that resonate with and serve the needs of a wider range of people. But what does diversity in tech mean, and what impact does it have? Let’s find out!
What does diversity in tech mean?
Diversity in tech can take many different shapes and forms such as gender, age, ethnicity, education, and accessibility – whether physical or mental – to name a few. In essence, diversity is about embracing a spectrum of perspectives, experiences, and talents. In a diverse environment, everyone feels equally valued and considered, recognizing that they each bring a unique skill or perspective to the table.
Check out our recorded event on diversity in tech.
Why is it important?
Diversity in tech is of course important for obvious reasons like bridging the gender gap and providing opportunities for those who are often excluded.
To put this in numbers, the Middle East and North Africa region has the largest gender gap (60.9%) compared to other regions worldwide. So, there is still a long way to go, and there are huge benefits to be reaped by including and engaging women in the economy.
Check out these inspirational stories of incredible women in the Iraqi and Kurdish tech scene, who are challenging norms and leaving a remarkable impact in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry.
Beyond that, however, diversity in tech is also important for a number of strategic reasons.
According to a study by McKinsey, companies with diverse executive teams outperform those with less diversity. Specifically, companies in the top quartile for man and women diversity in executive teams are 25% more likely to reap above average profits in comparison to the bottom quartile.
This figure, from 2019, is also higher than the figures from 2017 and 2014 of 21% and 15%, respectively. This indicates that not only is it important, but it is also increasing in importance over time.
So, it is not only a moral imperative; it also makes perfect business sense. Here’s how:
1) Caters to diverse end users
A diverse team ensures the product or service caters to diverse end users. In doing so, this helps the company reach a wider spectrum of people. For example, a diverse team with members from different corners of the world will likely develop a culturally sensitive solution given their understanding of specific needs, preferences, and concerns of users worldwide.
According to Harvard Business Review, a team with a member who shares a client’s ethnicity is 152% more likely than another team to understand that client.
2) Increases creativity and innovation
Diverse teams are hotbeds for innovation. Their varied perspectives and experiences sparks creative, out-of-the-box solutions to complex problems.
3) Fosters a positive work environment
A diverse team is also a great way to foster a positive work environment. Diversity and inclusion foster a sense of acceptance and belonging among team members. When they feel appreciated, heard, valued, and included, this will likely increase their engagement. As a result, they will inevitably become more productive, and the company will likely retain them for a longer time.
A survey from Glassdoor revealed that 76% of employees and people looking for jobs claimed that a diverse workforce is important for them.
4) Enhances reputation and brand image
Diversity in tech companies also enhances the company’s reputation and brand image. It is one thing to claim developing diverse and inclusive products and services, but it’s another thing to walk the talk. So, companies with diverse teams improve their positioning as inclusive and progressive brands, helping establish trust and attracting a more socially-conscious audience.
In fact, millennials consider an organization’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts and practices ‘substantially more important than any of the 6 other product attributions (including price and quality) when making a purchase decision’.
So, having a diverse team – which is a socially responsible practice – helps tech companies in enhancing trust, loyalty, and correspondingly, economic returns.
Similarly, diverse teams also attract more talent, especially young people who prioritize and highly value diversity, inclusion, and equity.
5) Avoiding bias and unintended discrimination
Finally, diversity in tech teams can also help in mitigating bias and addressing ethical concerns.
Unconscious biases can inadvertently be embedded in tech solutions, leading to unintended discrimination. A diverse team will likely identify such biases and work to rectify them, ensuring that the technology developed is fair, ethical, and does not perpetuate social inequalities.
Join the movement in embracing diversity in tech!
Whether you are a job seeker, an entrepreneur, or an employer, join the movement in embracing diversity in tech! Together, we can champion diversity, inclusion, and equity to create new opportunities for people, businesses, and the tech industry to prosper and pave the way for a better future.
If you feel inspired and don’t know where to begin, check out our workshops, events, courses and bootcamps, or learn more about our work to support women in tech in Iraq and KRI.