Comms-care's Katie Hall explores the relationship between diverse teams and improved performance
Diverse teams make stronger teams, fact. But it's no secret that the IT industry continues to grapple with a diversity deficit. The numbers speak for themselves - the UK workforce is made up of 48% women but the IT industry is only around 16%, according to WISE. It's not just a missed opportunity for women and society, but also for business. For the industry to thrive and spark innovation, it must be made up of people from varied walks of life with different skillsets and personalities, that mirrors wider society. That's what brings out the best in organisations. Otherwise, how can you create effective strategies for an audience you're not part of and don't fully understand?
Women have innate characteristics which make them particularly strong in areas such as problem solving, emotional intelligence and creative solutions. In fact, research from Harvard Business Review shows that gender-diverse organisations are 45% more likely to improve market share. But a lot of women are getting into tech by chance, rather than choice. Just imagine the talent if we were attracting them!
Events like CRN's Women in Channel Awards are such a crucial platform to celebrate women who are successful in tech to firstly applaud their talent and achievements but also to cascade their success wider, raise awareness of what's possible and attract new talent. That's why our sponsorship of the event for me is a no-brainer. As both individuals and a collective, we must champion diversity and inclusion. Over 800 nominations were made for this year's Women in Channel awards! These women represent the best of the best and act as role models for other women at all levels.
Learning from experience
The power of role models and mentors really cannot be overstated. It is so important for women at senior levels to share their career lessons and advice to help others follow in their footsteps and reach their full potential. Just one amazing example of an initiative like this is the ‘Coffee with Women in Tech' podcast. Ingram Micro's Harpreet Narang, took it upon herself to launch the podcast to make sure we're capturing the wisdom of female leaders within the IT industry as well as other sectors, learning about their diverse backgrounds and highlighting what is possible. Similarly, Comms-care's Beckie Modeley set up a highly successful mentoring programme to help employees develop, flourish and achieve their career goals.
Making an impact
There has been a lot of research into the UK's future pipeline of technology talent which is heavily skewed towards men. A study by PwC found only 27% of female university and college students said they would consider a career in technology, compared to 61% of males and an alarming 3% say it is their first choice. It really drives home the need to shout far and wide about the exciting roles and opportunities available, where women can really have an impact and why tech is the place to be!
As an industry we are making great progress tackling diversity challenges head on, but there's a lot more to do. Ultimately, diversity and inclusion is everyone's responsibility. We must break down barriers and challenge the "it's what we've always done" mentality. This is key for women to flourish and our industry to thrive.
Keep in touch - follow Comms-care on LinkedIn and @CommsCare on Twitter.
Katie Hall is a marketing executive at Comms-care