Microsoft's partner boss, Clare Barclay, has urged partners to take gender diversity more seriously, but cautioned that the issue should be promoted alongside other diversity schemes in order to be successful.
Speaking to CRN as part of the Women in the Channel project, Barclay (pictured) said that promoting the benefits of a diverse workforce to the Microsoft partner community will become an increasingly important issue for her.
She said partners ought to think up their own diversity strategies, but stressed that focusing only on one area, such as women's issues, might end up putting men off joining in the debate.
"In my division, the person who runs diversity is Glenn Woolaghan," she said. "I said I don't want it to be a female, I want it to be a man because often [the role] can be stereotyped. The problem is, whenever we run diversity events at Microsoft, men think it's a women's thing.
"But actually, that's why I try and talk about diversity in the broadest range. Gender is one topic, but also young people, different races - it's all really important in the way you run your business. The important thing when getting a diversity strategy going is that you don't make it feel like a women's club. Try and pick a women topic for one [event], but maybe pick young talent [for another] so it doesn't become a little bit like the Emeline Pankhurst society."
Microsoft, along with a number of other major vendors, has made big changes to its business model in the past few years, moving towards the cloud from selling transactional licences. Barclay said that this move means there is more demand than ever for a diverse workforce that has skills to match the new way of doing business.
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