“We want to improve diversity in our organization, but we have a hard time finding diverse, qualified candidates.”
This is a common refrain we hear from business leaders – in particular within the tech industry. In a survey commissioned by York Solutions, 87% of IT leaders reported that improving diversity within IT departments is important, and 65% said it is very or extremely important. According to research gathered for the survey, non-homogenous teams are advantageous for these key reasons:
- They are more aware of their biases, and they use this information to avoid errors.
- They digest and process information more carefully, resulting in better decisions.
- They are more innovative; teams with more women or increased cultural diversity are more likely to introduce new products or innovations.
Yet women and people of color are still underrepresented – especially in tech and in leadership roles. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 36% of IT jobs are held by people of color. And though 56% of professional U.S. jobs are held by women, only 25% of IT jobs are held by women, based on research from ITManagerDaily.com.
Since 2015, LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company have published an annual study, Women in the Workplace. The 2018 study concludes, based on four years of data, that women remain significantly underrepresented in corporate America, and companies need to change the way they hire and promote employees to make progress.
Qualified diverse candidates are in the job market, but employers must modify how and where they hire to find them. Here are five simple ways to start making diversity a core part of your business strategy:
- Recognize the value of diversity for your company.
Tie your overarching business goals and priorities to building a team that represents different genders, races, backgrounds, and experiences. How would your company benefit from this hiring strategy? How would diverse perspectives help you better reach your customers, introduce new ideas, or achieve sales targets?
- Know your numbers.
You can’t address a problem unless you fully understand it. Track and report on diversity in your company, and set specific goals for the future. Treat gender and racial representation like any other important business goal.
- Cut down on unconscious bias.
Unconscious bias – implicit ideas about who would or wouldn’t be the right fit for a position – can influence hiring decisions. Educate hiring managers about this issue, and look for ways to eliminate unconscious bias from key hiring steps, such as writing job descriptions to conduct interviews.
- Look for potential.
If your organization is screening candidates based on a rigid set of qualifications, you are probably favoring individuals who look like your existing workforce, and overlooking those who have more diverse experiences. Instead of requiring X number of years working with a certain technology or Y certification, look for transferrable skills and an aptitude for learning quickly.
- Enlist expert help.
It is a challenge to recruit and hire the best people for open positions, and diversifying your team takes time and effort. Partner with York Solutions to get access to a pipeline of highly skilled candidates from diverse backgrounds – either through our Managed Service Solution (MS3) or Barriers to Entry (B2E) program.