In a world where everyone is digitally connected, interactions between people from different areas of the globe have become a norm. Globalization made it common working in an international mindset, but it seems difficult to connect this with workforce diversity. Diversity within the workplace is a matter of gender, race and ethnicity but also of educational and cultural background.

Is there diversity in the tech industry?

Diversity is a repetitive subject in the tech industry as companies target wide areas of the world and thus, different communities and ethnicities. If big players want to attract large populations, they need to have diversity within their teams to reflect them. The following graphics made by the Wall Street Journal show that women in technology jobs account for 24% to 13% of US employees in tech companies such as Apple, Linkedin or Facebook. Minorities are more represented in these companies for technology jobs, with 69% of minority vs. white people at Yahoo or 66% at Linkedin in 2016.

Women vs. men in tech jobs

Minority vs. white employees in tech jobs
Source: Wall Street Journal

But there is still work to be done for most tech companies to achieve a positive diversity ratio. Based on studies done in the US, there are some biases that prevent companies to recruit employees from diverse backgrounds. Some of them reside in the wording of job descriptions. The use of masculine words in job listings such as “dominant,” “independent,” and “leader” tend to discourage women to apply to these jobs. Recruiters must therefore be careful when filling in job descriptions to be sure they appeal to everyone.

Employees find it difficult to work in diverse teams

Working with peers that have mostly the same experience and background tends to be easier. In companies, this is the whole basis of the “cultural fit”. If team members have the same way of looking at things and getting them done, it will be easier for them to organize and be efficient. In diverse teams – whether it is ethnicity, cultural or educational background – communication and organization can be difficult at first. A simple example can be the language barrier that international teams face. If a team member is not comfortable with the team’s spoken language, he or she can find it difficult to pass on ideas to the team.

But diversity drives performance and innovation

Studies and experience have shown that diversity in teams has an impact on performance. According to a report by McKinsey in 2015, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians, and it accounts for 15% of companies in the top quartile for gender diversity.

This can be explained by the fact that homogeneous teams are less inclined to re-assess their work because every team member tends to have the same approach to thinking. Whereas in diverse teams, collaboration and consensus are more difficult at first. According to psychology studies, diverse teams perform better because there are more conflicting opinions and questioning.

Constant questioning and different approaches when working in a team can drive more interaction and critical thinking. These form the basics of innovation. If employees are willing to get out of their comfort zone, they can develop new innovative ideas.

Whether you are an international firm or not, we encourage you to build diverse teams. Diversity can also be achieved by international recruitment. Both companies wanting to hire foreigners and candidates willing to work in another country should keep in mind that diversity has more to bring to you and the company than just complex hiring procedures. YBorder is here to help you find the perfect opportunity, without geographical limits.

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