How the tech industry can address diversity, equity and inclusion now
The CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux moderated a discussion on diversity and inclusion in tech during ChannelCon Online. Find out what the panel had for you about diversity in hiring practices, how to have difficult conversations about social injustice, and the role of media. Social injustice has been a major topic in the United States and around the globe. Todd Thibodeaux, CompTIA’s CEO, launched ChannelCon Online 2020 with a Town Hall dedicated to diversity. This Town Hall was designed to highlight these issues and discuss ways the tech industry can better address equity, inclusion, and other issues. A panel of African American tech industry leaders, including former members of CompTIA’s Board of Directors, joined Todd Thibodeaux for this critical conversation. They shared their insights on a variety of topics, including institutional change, having difficult conversations, the role of the media, and how younger generations can be part of the solution. Here are the comments of the panelists.
Listen to the entire conversation now.
Tech Beyond Diversity
Stewart says technology companies must do more to hire African Americans and other underrepresented groups to all levels of their workforces. The tech industry must take the next step in diversifying its workforce. While efforts to diversify have been focused on percentages and numbers, it is time to move beyond that.
“Tech companies will hire. Make sure you’re not going to your usual schools. Start attending some of the HBCs and partnering with the United Negro College Fund. You’ll be doing things you wouldn’t normally do, because these people aren’t like you or you don’t know much about those organizations. Stewart stated that tech companies should look beyond their bubble if they want to be successful right now.
There are companies that are making greater commitments to diversity. Apple is one example. It recently launched a $100 million initiative to address equity, inclusion, and diversity. These programs are important but it is essential that they are followed through if they are to make a difference.
“It cannot be about the money. Woods stated that while we have seen promises made before, nothing has come of them. “All of these organisations need to keep the promises they made before.”
Fraser-Moore also pointed out that diversity in tech doesn’t only mean hiring individuals, but also working with diverse contractors. The impact of policies that government agencies have made during RFP processes is already evident.
Fraser-Moore stated, “They want to see the equal business opportunity plan.” “We must show the government that our plan is to work with diverse businesses and minorities.”
Fraser-Moore says that government agencies want her company to be diverse and to work with women-owned businesses. We must prove that we have a diverse workforce. They are asking us to prove that we have a diverse workforce and will let us know that we are more likely to win their business. That’s something completely different.
Expanding the pool of candidates
Companies ultimately care about profits. Having a diverse workforce is a good thing.
Williams stated that there are many studies that show that the more diverse a company is, the greater the chance it will succeed. This is because they get different ideas and perspectives on how to achieve their goals. This kind of investment is a smart one.
It’s encouraging to see companies make commitments and spend money to create programs that promote equity and inclusion. However, employers need to rethink their hiring practices to avoid unconscious bias. It’s time for tech companies to increase the number of qualified candidates and address skills gaps and hiring shortages.
It’s wonderful to invest in communities. It’s great to partner with community-based non-profits to teach programming and code to everyone. But, if it doesn’t lead to a job, it’s not.