The tech-industry is overrepresented by men. You might not care about the gender politics and ethical debates on gender equality. Nevertheless, you should still care if you want to improve your bottom line. Why? Because all research shows that gender diversity is good for business. So let us take a closer look at why that is.
You might have noticed that the gender issue is a delicate one these days. James Damore realized that some weeks ago when he got fired from Google after he produced a manifesto about gender diversity entitled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber. In the text, Damore criticized Google’s diversity policies for being “discriminatory practices” and he suggested biological differences to be the cause for Google’s lack of staff diversity. If Google wanted to hire more female software engineers they should take into account that women tend to be more cooperative and show higher interest in people. He said,
“We can make software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration.”
Google did not agree. They accused Damore of “perpetuating gender stereotypes” and Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated,
“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”
We will not get into the complex and precarious nurture/nature-discussion here. It was however interesting that both Google and Damore agreed gender diversity to be an indisputable end goal. It was never an if, but always a how.
Why is gender diversity so important to Google?
First of all, there are political reasons. They believe diversity to be a goal in itself. Google and a lot of their likeminded tech-hippies from Silicon Valley are left-wing progressives with a great interest in identity policies. Most of them are probably quite genuine when they advocate for gender equality. They want to have a business that includes all races, sexual preferences, and genders simply because they believe it to be the right thing.
Secondly, there is the PR-issue. The guys in google are not afraid to preach equality and inclusion and they are not embarrassed to let the public know how much they consider themselves to be progressive and feminist frontrunners. They do not want to seem like hypocrites by not being able to practice their own preachings.
Thirdly, financial considerations. Research shows that more diverse companies outperform the less diverse on several important metrics, including sales, market share, and profitability. A study conducted by strategy consultants McKinsey & Company including 366 public companies shows that gender-diverse companies are 15 % more likely to outclass their peers. McKinsey stated,
“More diverse companies, we believe, are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision-making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns.”
A study by Gallup confirmed these results finding that gender-diverse business units have 14 % higher average comparable revenues than less diverse business units. So why is that?
Originality – Better for business
Whether it is cultural or biological men and women have different viewpoints and market insights, which enables better problem-solving.
John Stuart Mill wrote a great deal about that topic already in his 1859 masterpiece On Liberty. Mill concluded that diversity of opinion is important to avoid stagnation and dogmatic views and to generate more originality and eccentricity.
You should always embrace diversity of thought to propel creativity and innovation. It is simply a good strategy to involve people with different insights and different cultural background. Studies show that heterogeneous groups tend to outperform homogeneous groups because disagreements lead to more careful processing of information. Heterogeneous groups make better decisions.
Furthermore, a diverse workforce allows the company to serve an increasingly diverse customer base. A diverse sales department will be better suited to reflect a more diverse customer base. They are better able to nurture strong relationships with customers with similar experiences and viewpoints and without a common ground you will be more likely to overlook and miss some of your customer’s needs. By having a diverse workforce you will also get easier access to a wider range of resources, information and industry knowledge.
Last but not least. Why would you leave out 50 % of the potential workforce? By having a diverse company you are more likely to attract top talent. So much research shows that women are better in sales and this is relevant since women are joining the labor force all around the world. By being diverse you are also better able to stay diverse and attract the best female workers in your field. You need women to be competitive in the long term and the short term.
We have a confession to make …
A few months ago we published a photo of the Contractbook-team on our facebook page. We were sitting in a sofa with fake smiles on our faces casually waving with a Contractbook-sign. You may then have noticed: We are all skinny white dudes. (While we are at it, yes we are heterosexuals and yes some of us are single). So yeah it is true, we are hypocrites. We preach diversity in the tech-industry and yet we are just a group of boy scouts. But, between us: We can see it in our accounts as well…
We will get better – and do not forget:
THE CONTRACT REVOLUTION IS FOR EVERYONE!!!
Edit – 29.12.2017
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