Tech Leaders STOP Avoiding Need to Take More Ownership on Diversity & Inclusion

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Introduction Gartner’s Women in Technology Leadership survey was conducted online from July 29th – August 17th with 183 members of Gartner’s Research Circle. Circle members holding leadership positions (2 or fewer reporting layers away from the senior most in their organization) in either IT industries or IT-related roles were invited to participate in the survey. A portion of the survey focused on attracting and retaining top female talent.  The findings revealed that the majority (59%) of respondents believe adopting a flexible work environment will aid in attracting and recruiting female talent. In addition, the survey highlighted: A quarter (25%) of women believe that including female leaders in the recruitment process is the most impactful in attracting female talent Men are more likely to state that an organizations actions should be the same for recruiting any gender (44% of men vs. 23% of women)   Analysis Generally speaking, the respondents and results of the 2020 Women in Tech Leadership Survey highlighted a short-term view with an emphasis on tactical solutions that fall short of recognizing the power of product leaders to overcome the systemic challenges that impact their tech pipeline, recruiting, and retention efforts. The question of overcoming the digital divide, hate for profit, diversity, inclusion and equity falls square in the hands of technology product leaders. Participants seemed to overlook many of the systemic questions surrounding women’s entry into the technology field. Further, there is a faction of big tech that profits from the suppression of women, minorities, and the underclass’s inability to fully participate. Let’s be frank, the “hate for profit” business models embraced by some in tech companies, recruiting efforts that are highly dependent on referral systems (limiting access to those without social capital), and now price-gouging by some tech providers are directly impacting women and people of colors’ access to opportunities. These systemic issues will only be exacerbated by COVID19. One of the most shocking occurrences to date is the price-gouging of “stay-at-home tech” amid this pandemic1. Women and people of color were among the hardest hit financially during COVID19. With parents scrambling to get students on-line, the prices for some laptops soared overnight. For instance, the market research firm NPD Group found a 179% increase2 in webcams' sales in the first three weeks of March 2020. Altering this dynamic is firmly within the hands of technology leaders and cannot be overlooked if we are to secure a more diverse pool of candidates and an equitable future for those facing the realities of the digital economy.   Getting Strategic This year Gartner’s Women in Technology Task Force has taken up these issues in new series of research.  Research to date has focused on overcoming the digital divide , product design, strategies for women in uncertain times, strengthening the tech pipeline and addressing challenges that are following within the scope of our roles as product managers, general managers, and Tech CEO’s A few recommendations have included: Invest in developing talent pools of women in technology by locally partnering, developing training programs, offering apprenticeships, and exploiting multiple recruiting channels to build your future talent pipelines. Build an “employer-of-choice” brand for women candidates by partnering with marketing and HR to establish and evangelize your commitment to both product designs and a culture that is inclusive of women. As Gartner moves forward with research focused on women in 2021, technology product leaders must focus on issues of diversity, inclusion and equity, new ways to overcome disparities that go beyond tactical responses.   Recommended Read Product Managers Need to Grow Their Talent Pipeline by Dismantling the Digital Divide Overcoming the Digital Divide: How Product Managers Can Reach More Women Users Women Tech CEOs: A Guide to Executing Strategy in the Face of Uncertainty Tech CEOs, Especially Women, Must Develop High Self-Awareness to Influence Others General Manager Insight: Supporting Women Leadership Talent Is a Company Growth Issue Product Managers Must Reduce Bias in Biometrics Sources 1Amazon sellers are price-gouging on essential stay-at-home tech 2 It’s Time for Home Productivity to Shine

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