Asian businesswoman wearing headphones, analysing data working from home

Article by Megan Barbier, Global Vice President, People & Culture, Jumio

The disruption caused by the pandemic has strengthened a focus on diversity and equality. As stakeholders and investors expect more transparency and commitment from organisations, building an inclusive workplace has never been more important.

Organisations that collect and analyse data on the diversity of their workforce have a deeper understanding of their people and the lived experiences of their employees. They can use this data to identify any existing biases, gaps or issues and work toward improving them. Whilst the results gleaned from this process can at times be tough, organisations must own these insights to ensure that diversity and inclusion are not merely wishes, but tangible goals for which a robust strategy can be developed.

Let us now look at why this is so important.

Why diversity and inclusion matters

Research has conclusively found that diversity and inclusion can unlock new levels of productivity because they contribute to building a happy, willing workforce that promotes a sense of belonging among employees. When employees feel more connected at work, they become more engaged and multiple studies reveal that this leads to greater collaboration and innovation.

In fact, according to a report by McKinsey & Company, those organisations that prioritise a diverse and inclusive workforce can generate up to 30% percent higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors. In addition, Gartner found that teams with a diverse composition can improve their productivity by 30%. This shows that a diverse and inclusive workforce is not just a competitive advantage, but also allows organisations to achieve above-average profits. It is therefore mutually beneficial to both employees and employers.

The gender gap in technology

Women face unique challenges and barriers in the tech industry. Statistics show that year after year, women are underpaid and underrepresented. According to the government-funded growth network Tech Nation, nearly  3 million people, or 9% of the UK workforce, are employed in the UK tech industry but just 26% of those in the tech workforce are women.

More worryingly, women are driven out of the tech sector due to burnout, gendered biases, toxic aspects of “bro-culture” and a lack of life-work harmony. All these things together are ultimately driving down the retention rate of women in tech. Those that do remain often have additional hurdles to fully engaging in meaningful work.

So, what can we do to address these challenges? That’s where diversity data comes in.

Leveraging data for actionable insights

Valuable information on unconscious biases can be exposed by examining hiring and promotion practices, conducting pay gap equity analyses, and carrying out surveys to observe employee satisfaction and engagement.

And data isn’t just useful for identifying the problems that exist — it can also help organisations track progress and measure the effectiveness and impact of their DE&I strategies. Setting specific goals and collecting data on key metrics can allow organisations to understand what is working and what isn’t so they can adjust their efforts accordingly.

This is especially important in the tech industry, where incentives for rapid growth may risk diversity being an overlooked consideration in recruitment. Amid the pace of change, a data-driven mindset makes life easier for leaders to demonstrate the positive impact that diversity and inclusion can have on an organisation’s bottom line, thus strengthening the business case for continued investment in these programmes.

Moreover, maintaining a policy to collect and publicly share data on workforce diversity reinforces accountability and achievement of these objectives. This level of transparency ensures that businesses remain committed toward practical steps for a more diverse and inclusive workforce, rather than just paying lip service to these ideals.

The role of data in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial. It is part and parcel of a reasoned and effective approach to driving innovation and creativity. More than a simple tool for diagnosis, data informs the pathway to positive change, helping to incorporate all stakeholders and uphold a sustained focus toward tangible action.

Megan BarbierAbout the author

Megan and her team drive and execute the global people and culture strategy for Jumio. She has 20 years of experience leading HR functions for large and emerging technology organisations. Prior to Jumio, she led international people operations for Wrike.