For some time we have been told that diversity in an organization leads to differing perspectives on how problems can be solved and new opportunities taken advantage of. Malcolm Forbes is quoted as saying that diversity is “the art of thinking independently together”. Andy Wright, VP of advertising at the New York Times said “Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are essential business tools today.” Speaking from the C-Suite, Candice Barnhardt, CDO at Nationwide is quoted as saying that “A culture of diversity and inclusion thrives when people with unique perspectives work together to achieve common goals.” Even Mr. Spock in Star Trek said that “Infinite diversity in infinite combinations…symbolizing the elements that create truth and beauty.”
Writing in Scientific America, Phillips (2014) notes that
“The fact is that if you want to build teams or organizations capable of innovating, you need diversity. Diversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving. Diversity can improve the bottom line of companies and lead to unfettered discoveries and breakthrough innovations. Even simply being exposed to diversity can change the way you think.”
With so many people making the clear case for the value of diversity in the workplace, one has to wonder about the paucity of females in technical organizations. While females make up 59% of the workforce, women are represented far less in technical organizations. For example, at Microsoft women hold only about 16% of the technical jobs and just over 20% of the leadership positions. Google mirrors that with 17% women in tech and 21% in management. Is that bad? Roger Cheng (2015) thinks so and writes
“These figures matter. For starters, they show few women influencing product development or business strategy — the two rungs at the top of the industry’s corporate ladder. That’s not just harmful to women; it’s bad for business. Studies show that companies with different points of view, market insights and approaches to problem solving have higher sales, more customers and larger market share than their less-diverse rivals.”
It’s time for the tech industry to wake up and realize that they are missing out on a vast pool of resources and differing perspectives that can greatly enhance not only the way they do business, but how successful they can be at it. We are in a very tough business environment, and tech organizations need to take advantage of each and every opportunity they can to move ahead of the competition. Women are that overlooked resource that could very well make that success happen.
If you are interested in a career in cybersecurity you can get a bachelor’s or master’s degree at Excelsior College.
Cheng, R. (2015). Women in tech: The number don’t add up. Obtained from the Internet at http://www.cnet.com/news/women-in-tech-the-numbers-dont-add-up/
Phillips, K. (2014). How Diversity Makes Us Smarter. Obtained from the Internet at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-diversity-makes-us-smarter/