Is Diversity a Buzzword? – Mark Martin
Sometimes I ask myself am I missing something to do with diversity. Has it been stolen or is it just a buzz word that people use to start a conversation. I’ve been to countless meetings where people would approach me after the event to state the lack of diversity in the tech sector. They would cry out for me to help them bring more young people from diverse backgrounds into the sector.
However a report came out last year which stated the amount of people from diverse backgrounds that have apprenticeships and degrees in tech but are unemployed. The first thought that came to my head was if it’s not about the lack diversity then what is it? Is the recruitment pipeline broken or are they waiting for the correct face to fit their organisation.
These types of conversations leaves many people uncomfortable and instead dealing with the real issues the buzzword “Diversity” is thrown about like confetti with no real plan of action. What I find amusing is ten years ago lots of the culture in organisations was very corporate like, but now when I enter workplace words and slang from the street that was once looked down upon is the cool and hipster way of conveying conversations. This goes to show diversity has always been with us but we have limited its presence in the things we deem to be important and relevant.
I’m in no doubt that the country that grabs diversity and places it at the heart of its tech community will win. Diversity in tech is no longer a moral issue to solve, but a performance and economic growth factor. In my line of work as a teacher and business advisor there are plenty of rough diamonds in the sand and it doesn’t take a great amount of effort to source and developed.
I think going forward companies need to be comfortable accepting people that look, sound and act different from the norm. The tech sector doesn’t need robots but people from different backgrounds that can share a unique insight into a solution.
By Mark Martin – Urban Teacher