The Importance of a Clear Diversity Statement in Tech Companies
Why a Clear Diversity Statement Matters
While the critical skills shortage facing the tech industry may be bad news overall, it seems some areas could be set to benefit from it. As employers desperately search for ways to plug their unfilled positions, some have finally realized that making an effort to attract minority groups who have been marginalized for years may be part of the answer.
We’re nearing the maximum number of straight, white males in STEM, so at a time when the sector is desperate to attract more talent, it has had to extend its reach. Research from Deloitte in 2018 revealed a 32% rise in executives who cited inclusion as a top priority. Now, in the modern workplace, a diversity statement should be the cornerstone of any organization’s recruitment process.
In an era of the more socially conscious employee, working for a forward-thinking company is near the top of the decision-making process for the modern job-seeker. They want to work for a business whose ethics match their own as their investment in work is increasingly personal as well as professional. For instance, 80% of millennials recently admitted they wouldn’t even apply for a job if they knew the employer had a gender pay gap.
How to Solve the Problem
So, with a workforce who have a keen eye on working for organizations that place great value on equality, you’d assume that companies are making their stances known and being vocal about it? Not quite. Recent research we carried out revealed that only 61% of tech professionals say their employer has a clear diversity statement.
That’s a particularly low percentage considering the efforts that have been made to improve in this area, especially as the statistics that initiated the need for such a strategy document remain poor. Google’s employee stats echo the industry’s diversity rates. Only 2% of their employees are black, and women hold only 20% of technical roles.
Those statistics drastically need to improve. There are many changes that any organization that wants to make positive strides in this area needs to embrace. Creating a diversity and inclusion statement that becomes the beating heart of your business will go some way towards pointing you in the right direction.
With a visible passion for promoting inclusivity, it will help to attract workers from all backgrounds into working for your organization. How to then keep those workers engaged is a different challenge, but a clear and concise diversity statement is the stepping stone towards getting started.
Writing your Statement
There’s a misconception that this needs to be a long and in-depth legal document, carefully researched and worded. The truth is somewhat different. Something short, sharp and snappy that embraces exactly what your company is and who the people are that make it that way. It should be full of positive words that describe the culture you’re trying to promote, but it doesn’t need to become technical.
The best diversity statements are under 100 words long and worded with easily understood language. A potential applicant researching your company doesn’t want to re-read the document several times to know where you stand; in fact, they’re much more likely to ignore it entirely if it’s a challenging read. The title needs to be pretty succinct as well.
Far from needing to consist of masses of lengthy prose, dense in legal terminology, you need to describe the kind of people you want working for you and how they will feel working at your organization.
We’re now seeing companies making concerted efforts to encourage people from a variety of different backgrounds into a career in STEM, even if those changes aren’t having an immediate impact in terms of results.
While it will take time to correct and settle into a fairer balance, there is much you can be doing in the interim to put your business in the lead when it comes to recruiting the next generation of tech superstars. A clear diversity statement is a positive change to show people you want to be a part of this.
Zoe is President of staffing firm Nelson Frank. A keen advocate of better representation in the workplace, she has almost 20 years of experience in the recruitment industry.