Research suggests that positive business outcomes are directly tied to gender diversity — which can provide creativity and varying views, backgrounds and experiences. So, if diversity is so beneficial to the success of an organization, then why is it that industries like science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are struggling to embrace it?
Data from Pew Research found that of all the STEM subgroups, engineering is composed of the lowest share of women by far, at just 14%, and that just 16% of college-educated workers who majored in engineering are women.
This lack of diversity in engineering and technology is becoming more evident, as many companies struggle to foster a culture of inclusion — and many still have low percentages of female employees in tech roles. It’s clear that creating a diverse culture in the field has not historically been as easy as it should be.
Xandr recognizes the value of diversity, especially in fields like engineering, which are traditionally thought of as male-dominated fields. Whether it’s our ongoing support of nonprofit education organizations, our educational programs that equip young students with the skills needed to succeed in the global advertising and technology economy, our inclusive hackathons that provide students and employees the opportunity to expand their skill sets while giving back to the community, or our unbiased hiring process, we aim to make business decisions through a diverse lens.
To continue to encourage the growth of diversity in tech, I know that I have to support women’s participation in the field. In the future, I hope to see companies improve their community engagement efforts for women and others interested in tech through the following tactics.
1. Immersion Programs
I believe that girls need to see women in technical and leadership roles. One way to execute that goal is through immersion programs with nonprofit organizations that support particular causes. For example, you could host a summer immersion program with leading technology companies or develop high-school coding clubs.
2. Career And Skill Development Opportunities And Internships
Similarly, I believe providing the opportunity for young women to build valuable skill sets is essential to creating a more diverse engineering workforce. You can create digital skills programs to help students develop the skills they need to excel in the technology field. Then, you can help develop young tech talent through internship and apprentice programs.
You can also run regular mentorship programs and match students to employees who can provide support and guidance on college and career readiness topics.
3. Inclusive Hackathons, School Visits And Other Events
I believe that long-term business success is tied to the success of our communities. To work toward that goal, you can host events like hackathons dedicated to providing aspiring young developers with the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of coding while gaining life learnings, new friends and business connections. Events like these help community members build innovative solutions to address social and environmental challenges in our communities by combining the power of tech for good with the passion and skills of teammates around the world.
As tech companies seek to create unique solutions, it’s important that they build diverse teams made up of people with a variety of backgrounds, experiences and styles. Your leadership team should be dedicated to attracting, recruiting and retaining a more diverse workforce and creating a global, inclusive culture.
While Xandr and the larger industry have made huge strides toward inclusion, I know that there is still much work to be done. With that said, I encourage companies of all industries and sizes to be intentional about the people they hire and the organizations they work with. Together, we have the ability to make diversity in the workplace the norm rather than the exception.