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Diversity in Data: 5 Reasons Why It Matters

Kathleen Beddoes

Tue, 6 Jul, 2021

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 2 minutes

In 2014, Google released its first diversity report, becoming the first major tech company to do so. The pioneering move caused other technology companies to reevaluate their diversity policy. However, transparency only goes so far. As of 2016, only 18.74% of data engineers are women, and 7% of STEM workers are African-American and Hispanic, despite these groups comprising 28% of the US population. Here are five reasons why we think a diverse workforce is important for technology companies.

1. Enhances Retention

In particular, younger generations of tech workers and innovators seem to value diversity above all else. In a recent study by Research Gate (2020), diverse workplace cultures were beneficial for retaining nearly all employees. These findings, along with Deloitte’s global survey of 2020 Millennials, showed that young people were unequivocal in their values, and wished to positively impact the world during the pandemic. It makes sense to take action now rather than wait and fall behind since the demand for a diverse workforce is evidently increasing.

2. Opportunities For Mentorship and Growth

Women, especially those who work in data, may lack mentorship or opportunities to improve their skills. This is supported by the Network of Executive Women’s 2018 report, which found that fewer women than men believe there are role models or mentors at work.  What is the best way to find a mentor? Is there a way to connect with people like me? Various groups around the world ask similar questions.  If organisations continue to hire diverse candidates, this problem can, in part, be resolved.

3. Builds A Stronger Workforce

Diversifying not only makes sense for employee engagement, but for the company as a whole. Despite recent findings, studies conducted as far back as 2013 show that firms with employees who possess diverse intrinsic (inherited) and acquired traits (gained from experience) are 45% more likely to grow market share over the previous year, and 70% more likely to capture new markets.

4. Our Data Is Diverse; We Should Be Too

Data recruitment is a complex field. Whether it’s working for a for-profit company or a non-profit organization, data jobs can be found virtually everywhere. Its versatility makes it appealing to a variety of people with varying interests, passions, and motivations. This is an important factor to consider when building a data team.

5. Flexibility leads to greater career opportunities for everyone

Technology and data companies have many opportunities to be more diverse as the remote working era has ushered in. The Open Access Government website reported that until recently, traditional office jobs had been bound to geographic areas. There is often a correlation between socio-economic status, education, and ethnicity, and living expenses and commuting costs are very high for the majority of residents. A commute of five days per week, in the original office model, ostracizes disabled individuals, who face commuter issues and/or have ill-equipped facilities at their workplace and may lose out on job opportunities as a result.

We live in exciting times for data management recruitment today: many roles offer full-time remote working, and employers should take advantage of the many benefits this can provide.

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