Why do we need diversity in tech?

By Amanda Newman, aka The career mum and Senior Manager, Accenture
22nd October 2021

When I was asked to write this blog, I considered how I could make it insightful and interesting.

I could share some stats, for example, as stated in this Accenture research, the most inclusive cultures have an innovation mindset 6 times higher than less equal ones. I could add that in the top 20% of inclusive workplaces, 73% of respondents said they love their jobs, vs only 16% in the bottom 20% of workplace cultures. I could talk generically about how firms need to employ a diverse workforce to be successful - I worked for Shell for many years, I recall at one point hearing that >70% of fuel purchases are made by women - if the retail experience doesn’t accommodate that diversity - over time people will shop elsewhere. It’s covered by a simple term ‘inclusive design’ look it up on YouTube (one of my favourites is Kat Holmes, she explains it very well). Or I could make it personal….

As a user of tech and someone who over 25 years has managed and delivered large tech programmes, I can say without a doubt, the more diversity that you have around the table, the better the outcome.

I work for Accenture, we have just rolled out a tool called ‘Peppy’ - to support employees who identify as female through all stages of life. It isn’t just about employing a diverse workforce, you then need to do all you can to retain it.

From a gender diversity perspective, our research shows that there is no silver bullet to maintaining an inclusive workplace culture, however there are 7 key factors which influence retention:

I’m currently recovering from Breast Cancer. I’m already considering, when I return to work, how I can use this experience to drive tech for good - whether that be through introducing efficiency of business process across all health sectors, or through proposing new tooling or infrastructure that enables a fully integrated healthcare experience.

Whilst I can speak on behalf of gender diversity, I do all I can to sponsor, LGBTQI, accessibility, neuro and ethnic diversity etc , ensuring we all have a seat at the table. We then need to ensure that this diversity is reflected all the way to the top. It’s very admirable that gov.uk have shared this data. Is your organisation as transparent?

Screenshot from a presentation showing two slides. One with heading the key ingredients to an inclusive culture and the second headed there's no silver bullet, text reads the reseearch reveals 7 key factors which most significantly influence how women thrive and stay in tech roles
Govt. published table showing progress against diversity targets. Table headings are characteristics, grade, target, 2018 and 2020. Under characteristics are black, asian and ethnic minorities, disability, women, lesbian, gay and bi*.

Of course the data can be sliced in many different ways - but the key question is, who are the end users of your solution and, does the tech team mirror this? After all ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ and it would arrogant to assume you do…

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