Why is it important to have diversity in the tech sector?
Written by Rebekah Wallis, Director of People and Corporate Responsibility at Ricoh UK
Promoting diversity within the workforce is crucial to business success today. Organisations that foster a working culture inclusive of people from all backgrounds, geographies and genders can realise huge benefits.
Collaboration, innovation and creativity typically thrive in more diverse working environments, resulting in a business built on a range of perspectives, experiences and attitudes. Everyone benefits – employees, customers, partners and stakeholders alike.
More needs to be done, however, to promote diversity in the tech industry, particularly regarding female growth and progression. Research has shown that at executive level, women represent only 13% of the technology workforce, half of the UK average. At Ricoh we’re taking significant action to tackle the issues faced by the industry when it comes to gender diversity.
We believe that a business’ strength lies in its people, and that supporting employees with the right tools, development and programmes is fundamental in promoting fairness, inclusion and collaboration within any business.
Attracting a diverse talent pool
Recruiting and enabling talent regardless of background or gender is crucial to the establishment of a diverse talent pool. Businesses must ensure that they are consciously reducing obstacles to people bringing their whole selves to the workplace by adopting policies that support the needs of a diverse and inclusive workforce. This might include flexible working for both men and women to support working families, and enhancing maternity policies which encourage and support women returning to work, for example.
Leveraging partnerships with social enterprises dedicated to diversity, or working with strategic suppliers around a number of responsible business topics, are also effective ways to bring about positive change through diversity and inclusion.
Spotlight on mentoring
In order to fully support the professional growth of female employees in particular, it’s important to not only to support individuals’ own development, but also to create a work culture that allows women to flourish.
Mentoring and coaching are great ways to encourage equal opportunities for both men and women to progress and reach their potential through upskilling and networking, as well as giving women more opportunity and confidence to move into senior leadership roles.
Initiatives in practice at Ricoh
We’re already seeing the positive impacts of our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, which evaluates our progress against the BITC Diversity benchmarking index. Initiatives include a female leadership development programme, Ricoh PROGRESS, which focuses on developing the key competencies required for women to effectively develop themselves in order to apply for leadership positions.
As well as this, we’ve developed a secondary school outreach programme encouraging more girls to take up careers in STEM, and are working with our suppliers to bring about a diverse and sustainable supply chain through our Supplier Engagement Committee.