Diversity.

A word that has brought much attention to the tech industry. Technology giants in Silicon Valley such as Google, Twitter and Facebook – just to name a few – struggle to create a more inclusive work environment. Home to many global technology companies and start-ups, Silicon Valley’s diversity by the numbers reflects a workforce that is not favorable to traditionally disadvantaged groups such as women and people of color. Statistics from 2016 provided by “Information is Beautiful” show the employee breakdown of key technology companies compared to the U.S. population in general.

These numbers confirm that the technology industry is largely dominated by the white male. With recent outrage and media backlash concerning diversity reaching the forefront of the technology industry, tech companies are making a special effort to commit to diversity now more than ever. But where does it all begin? It begins with diversity recruiting.

Diversity recruiting puts the act of providing opportunity to women and minorities into fruition. It is essential to any workplace, as it allows for a wide range of perspectives and ideas and therefore heightens the flow of productivity. Here are three reasons why diversity recruiting is crucial to the future success of the tech industry.

  1. DIVERSITY RECRUITING UNVEILS THE LACK OF DIVERSITY TO THE TECH INDUSTRY

Aligning recruitment efforts to achieve workplace diversity starts with not only understanding the concept of diversity, but also understanding the current climate of your workplace. Tech companies often grapple with acknowledging the problem. It often seems like the lack of diversity in the tech community is well understood by everyone except those who work in the tech industry. A recent survey of 1,400 tech employees shows that about half of tech workers say no improvements on diversity measures are needed.

Keep in mind that this is in a sector where Blacks and Latinos make up only 5% of the workforce and women have proportions lower than 50%. Ignorance, in this case, is not bliss. Tech workers have grown so used to the current state of their work environment because it has been the same way for years. Often times, they feel if things are already going well, why change it? However, that’s where the problem lies. Change must be infiltrated through extensive diversity recruitment so that tech employees recognize the problematic state of their previous work climate.

  1. DIVERSITY RECRUITING PUTS AN END TO THE TECH MERITOCRACY

While the issue of workplace diversity has been improving for the past 50 years, the problem greatly persists in the tech industry because attitudes toward diversity recruiting are based in meritocracy, a system that neglects the different characteristics that constitute diversity. Tech employees believe that majority, if not all, of the jobs in the technology field are rewarded solely based on one’s ability to perform the desired function and perform it well. Success is granted to those who display the most intelligence and skills. But understanding diversity means valuing perspectives from several walks of life such as national origins, ages, sexual orientations, races and genders – not extending opportunities solely based on one’s ability. Diversity recruiting embraces the definition of what it means to be “diverse” while also considering a candidate’s skills, leveling privilege amongst all.

  1. DIVERSITY RECRUITING ALLOWS COMPANY CULTURE TO EVOLVE AND REMAIN COMPETITIVE

Diversity recruiting in the technology industry requires recruiters and HR leaders to dismiss their own conscious and unconscious biases and shift the target of their pipeline toward more diverse candidates. The beauty of attracting different, fresh talent is that recruiters get exposed to current changes in the labor market. Attracting a diverse talent pool can keep recruiters in the know about what job seekers are looking for in a job. This is key in technology, as remaining competitive in the industry drives performance.

HR leaders in tech should work to change the language in their job posting, use sourcing methods that reach a wide variety of networks, or even update their workplace policies in order to enhance the company’s culture. Steps toward a more inclusive community in tech starts with these amendments. The technology industry must do more than just make a public commitment to diversity. We must see action, not just for the betterment of society but also to maintain an evolving workforce.

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