Tackling Tech’s Diversity Issue: Employment Retention is Key

Sofia Imtiaz Salesforce Consultant
Sofia Imtiaz

According to a recent report by Wiley Edge, ‘Diversity in Tech 2022’, employee retention is an important initial step in tackling the tech sector’s issue with diversity.

The report found that 64% of businesses struggle with retaining employees from underrepresented backgrounds, even though 65% of those surveyed said they work hard towards achieving an inclusive and welcoming company culture.

When it comes to complaints regarding diversity and inclusion within the business, only 18% of businesses surveyed admitted to receiving any from current and former employees. The report also highlighted the fact that there are several DE&I tactics that are being grossly overlooked.

Of the 18-24 year old tech workers surveyed, 27% said they have left a role due to a lack of sense of belonging, while 22% left a role due to biased treatment from managers, 21% due to a lack of support for additional needs, and 16% due to a company culture that made them feel uncomfortable or like they weren’t welcome.

On a positive note, 55% of organisations said they have a mentorship programme in place to support younger employees with their personal and professional development.  Only 47% of businesses however, have systems in place to identify what additional support graduates and other entry level employees from different backgrounds need. Furthermore, only 25% of businesses offer their staff access to ERG’s (employee resource groups).

The report also suggests that employee retention and recruitment problems go deeper and start earlier. There are some common misconceptions among 18-24s, with 26% of those who aren’t currently working in technology considering the industry as offering fantastic career opportunities, and 14% saying they know very little or nothing about careers available in tech.

On the other hand, 21% of organisations surveyed stated they only hire grads from “top” universities, not taking into account graduates from other schools who have potential.

Becs Roycroft, senior director of global emerging talent at Wiley Edge, commented: “It’s not enough to attract and hire candidates from a broader talent pool. If we are to make any meaningful, long-term change when it comes to diversity in tech, businesses must also have effective strategies in place to retain employees from all backgrounds.

“Until these issues around company culture are adequately addressed, employees are more likely to continue feeling out of place and unhappy, which will ultimately lead to continued poor retention rates and limited progress when it comes to improving diversity.

“If businesses do find themselves struggling to retain employees from underrepresented backgrounds, they should ensure they are providing them with regular opportunities to offer feedback and constructive criticism. Without input from employees themselves, businesses will find they are continuing to make the same mistakes, and potentially missing some easily actionable improvements.”

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