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James M. Connolly
February 6, 2024
6 Min Read
Dynamic via Alamy Stock
[Editor's Note: This Quick Study was updated on February 6, 2024]
Don’t think of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as reconstituted affirmative action and women’s lib. Yes, DEI involves racial and gender considerations in hiring and promotion. Yet, DEI goes so much further. It’s about the enterprise challenge -- and opportunity -- of making a workforce and a corporate strategy better reflect and serve the varied constituencies of a large population. In the end, the goal is to improve the work product so that it is appropriate for a diverse customer base and workforce.
So, what are some of those elements beyond hiring and advancement of minority and women employees? As you’ve heard, some AI algorithms don’t work well when it comes to black people and women. DEI also considers issues faced by the disabled, people of non-binary gender, and the poor or unbanked who may not have ready access to the Internet. Even those with great online access -- remote workers -- may face issues when it comes to management and advancement.
Enterprise DEI also extends far beyond employment. Companies are looking at who can or can’t access or utilize their products and services, or when their offerings are subtly or blatantly racist or sexist.
The InformationWeek articles below are just a sampling of those discussing some of the issues and improvements DEI is addressing, often with minimal effort.
Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter
With its focus on continuous innovation, the tech industry is perfectly positioned to advance real change -- if it’s willing to embrace it. But, it’s not just about hiring. Tech companies must take an active role in ensuring minority leaders succeed.
Recent initiatives by the US government, the computer industry and educational institutions promise to address the talent shortage in cybersecurity, increase the level of diversity in the field, and raise the general awareness of security within all of IT.
Your board and your CEO have been clamoring for artificial intelligence, and now you have AI technology. But what if what your AI is telling you is wrong?
Unconscious biases will be reflected in the data that feeds your AI and ML algorithms. Here are three simple actions to dismantle unconscious bias in AI.
Data can help enterprise leaders power financial, social, and environmental change. Accepting social responsibility also can provide employers with a workforce that better mirrors the population at large.
Business and IT leaders could consider proceeding on three fronts to improve DEI as they develop their AI and metaverse offerings.
Tech leaders recognize that diversity can improve corporate performance. Yet, they face challenges in addressing diversity within their organizations and the broader tech ecosystem.
Advice from Your Peers
There exists an incorrect assumption that diversity and inclusion are synonymous. How can companies keep their DEI programs in balance?
IT leadership must carry its own weight in achieving company diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Here’s some advice.
Prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential as our world and workplace habits evolve. Data can unlock new information that allows businesses to make progress on this goal.
Language matters. Used in the right way, language can promote inclusion, but when used inappropriately it can create division, hurt people, and exacerbate exclusion.
Training a broader, more inclusive hiring pool in digital security skills may boost career opportunities and address shortages for in-demand talent.
Improving the inclusiveness of tech careers can start with education access for a broader demographic. One starting point can be scholarships that create more pathways for a broader spectrum of people to develop in-demand tech skills that enterprises want.
The Customer Side of Inclusion
Dan Schulman shared his perspectives on going beyond financial inclusivity and boosting financial health through technology. Developing innovation in fintech that can benefit the broader masses rather than select segments of the population may require concerted consideration.
Product engineers need to take action to address their own bias and prioritize diversity to create inclusive innovations that can benefit everyone.
Gender in the Workplace
The founder of Deloitte’s women in data science and analytics group on importance of inclusion in technology. One key to finding talented women may be to rework job descriptions in postings.
Organizations have a lot to gain from team diversity, so now is the time to start employing more women.
Leaders have a responsibility to keep women in tech and help cultivate their career growth. Here are a few measurable actions that can help.
Remote/Hybrid Workers Left in the Cold
The proliferation of hybrid and remote workforces can leave some employees feeling excluded from career opportunities or access to senior leaders. A strategy to foster inclusion involves a multitude of stakeholders.
Here’s why remote work should continue to be an option available at tech companies to increase diversity and help solve staffing challenges.
The shift to remote work has raised management issues that can be resolved with carefully planned communication and automation strategies -- but the personal touch is a critical element.
A DEI How-To
Building diversity in IT requires CIOs -- and organizations in general -- to dedicate sufficient time and resources to the effort if they’re serious about change.
Efforts to diversify a white, male-dominated workforce have largely resulted in head-scratching. Here are three ways AI can help the technology industry’s inequality problem.
Employers winning in this labor market know how to look at adjacent skills and invest in upskilling their internal candidates while creating alternative candidate pools.
Read more about:Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
About the Author(s)
Contributing Editor and Writer
Jim Connolly is a versatile and experienced freelance technology journalist who has reported on IT trends for more than three decades. He was previously editorial director of InformationWeek and Network Computing, where he oversaw the day-to-day planning and editing on the sites. He has written about enterprise computing, data analytics, the PC revolution, the evolution of the Internet, networking, IT management, and the ongoing shift to cloud-based services and mobility. He has covered breaking industry news and has led teams focused on product reviews and technology trends. He has concentrated on serving the information needs of IT decision-makers in large organizations and has worked with those managers to help them learn from their peers and share their experiences in implementing leading-edge technologies through such publications as Computerworld. Jim also has helped to launch a technology-focused startup, as one of the founding editors at TechTarget, and has served as editor of an established news organization focused on technology startups at MassHighTech.
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