In the last decade of technological innovation, almost all the most successful entrepreneurs are white males aged 25 to 45 (think Elon Musk, Evan Spiegel and Mark Zuckerberg).
The fact that they’re white males aged 25 to 45 does not diminish their achievements. But it does highlight the lack of gender, ethnic and racial diversity in the tech industry.
What is the issue?
It’s commonly believed that men are more interested in tech than women, and different races are better at tech than others.
When you look at the stats, it’s easy to see why. In Silicon Valley:
- 76 per cent of tech jobs in Silicon Valley are held by men
- Local minorities make up only five per cent of the workforce
- Asians comprise 27 per cent of the workforce at top tier companies (Google, Intel, Yahoo and LinkedIn), yet only 13 per cent hold executive roles
In Australia, women represent less than 20 per cent of the information and communications technology industry.
As these views become more entrenched – despite their inaccuracy – technological transformation and digital evolution is in danger of becoming representative of only one demographic.
The benefits of diversity
Companies that embrace diversity can attract and retain the best talent, nurture innovation, increase productivity and drive profitability.
Diverse teams are better suited to meet market demand because they represent varied backgrounds, experiences and values. They have a greater understanding of their customers’ needs and are representative of the communities that drive their profits.
Employees are also more likely to thrive in an environment where inclusivity is embraced. Members of inclusive teams are 19 times more likely to experience job satisfaction and four times more likely to stay with their employer.
Changing the ratio
Even if it were true that any one gender, race or ethnicity was better or more interested in tech than another, employers must still ask “why?”
In asking the question, we are one step closer to solving the problem.