Only every tenth company is a pioneer when it comes to implementation – eCommerce Magazin

  • New study from Capgemini: For more than two thirds of pioneering companies, diversity and inclusivity have led to innovation and differentiation.
  • More than every second company records increasing sales and higher customer satisfaction.
  • Companies with diverse and inclusive tech teams are four times more likely to develop inclusive products

90 percent of global companies struggle to achieve diversity and inclusion within their technology or IT teams. This is shown by the new study “The key to designing inclusive tech: Creating diverse and inclusive tech teams” by Capgemini Research Institute. The fact that top management recognizes a lack of inclusion is a key factor in reaching diverse target groups. As the study also shows, companies that pay attention to diversity and inclusiveness in their tech teams can benefit from innovation, sales and brand value opportunities.

Diversity: Managers need to initiate change

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Christina Schehl is the head of frog, Capgemini Invent. (Image: Capgemini)

“The change must come from the leaders of the technology teams: They are challenged to bridge the gap between their perception and that of their employees and team members from ethnic minorities. The fact that managers also grapple with uncomfortable truths is a basic requirement for the development of inclusive technology, ”explains Christina Schehl, head of the strategy, design and innovation unit frog at Capgemini Invent in Germany. “The pressure on global companies to make inclusion a reality is growing. Consumers today expect organizations to develop inclusive products, services and technologies. Asking questions about inclusivity – if at all – only at the end of the development cycle is too late and therefore not very effective. Companies can only reduce the risk of discriminatory technologies by involving as diverse user groups as possible in the conception and development phase. ”

Diversity and inclusivity – insufficient in technology

As the pandemic progressed, companies came under great pressure to recruit tech talent who met their needs from a shrinking range of candidates. In the process, their attention to good diversity and inclusion practices has waned. This has created a gap between the perception of executives, who see their IT and tech teams as being inclusive, and the reality, how employees from ethnic minorities experience them.

According to the study, 85 percent of executives believe that their companies offer all employees fair opportunities for career development and promotion. But only 19 percent of women and employees from ethnic minorities agree. This discrepancy contributes to a persistent deficit in diversity equity and inclusion (DE&I) in all industries that deliver technology to end users. Executives believe that progress is being made, but grassroots tech people remain critical of reality. The perception gap is wide: 75 percent of executives believe that ethnic minority women and team members experience a sense of belonging in their companies, but only 24 percent of those tech positions agree.

Ethnic minorities not adequately represented on tech teams

Fifty-three percent of women and ethnic minorities feel comfortable sharing personal experiences with their peers and other employees, whereas only nine percent of them have the same level of trust in their managers. Only 16 percent of women and employees from ethnic minorities see themselves adequately represented in tech teams. In addition, only one in five people in IT and tech teams is female and one in six comes from an ethnic minority. When it comes to career opportunities, both groups are at a disadvantage. Black team members In the tech sector, for example, a large majority do not think that they will have an equal opportunity for advancement. Only 22 percent of them consider this to be a given.

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Women are underrepresented in tech teams around the world. In Germany their share is 23 percent. (Graphic: Capgemini Research Institute)

In organizations with an advanced inclusive culture, the discrepancy in the assessment of inclusion processes and measures between managers on the one hand and women and employees from ethnic minorities in tech functions on the other is smaller. This also applies to the question of whether women and employees from ethnic minorities have the same access to human resources, employee groups and the HR department as other employees with non-diverse backgrounds.

Consumers notice technology-based discrimination

Consumers encounter discriminatory technologies due to insufficient implementation of diversity and inclusiveness in the tech teams of global companies. In financial services, for example, an average of 50 percent of ethnic minorities believe they have been offered lower credit on certain banking products online, compared with just 28 percent for those without such a background.

When it comes to health care, 43 percent of ethnic minority groups believe they were not made aware of health care in world-class facilities. This also includes those who have very specialized services. As a result, consumers worry about discriminatory technologies. They are increasingly paying attention to how their data is being used and how it could negatively affect them. For example, 66 percent of ethnic minority consumers say they are concerned that their personal information could be used to harm their job opportunities.

Develop an effective strategy for diversity and inclusion

The study authors point out that organizations with diverse and inclusive tech teams are four times more likely to produce inclusive products. Companies must therefore develop an effective inclusion strategy that goes beyond education and awareness-raising at the highest management levels, according to the study. You are required to use different processes, guidelines and value systems to promote inclusion. This includes guidelines on diversity and against harassment as well as a clear inclusion mandate for technology teams. Managers in this area must ensure that women and employees from ethnic minorities are given equal opportunities in career development, advancement and influence on product development.

At the same time, they must create the technical and data-related basis for measuring, monitoring and improving inclusion results. It is also important to ensure fairness when checking and correcting algorithmic distortions in AI systems. Finally, companies should put different users at the center of their product design, development and launch processes.

About the methodology of the study: That Capgemini Research Institute conducted qualitative and quantitative surveys among executives and consumers as part of the study. The surveys, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews focused on the experiences of women and people from ethnic minorities. The survey was supplemented by other industry experts and consumers. From each of 500 companies, one employee from the technology sector and one manager were interviewed. A consumer survey of 5,000 people served to capture the perspective of the end user. There were also 32 in-depth interviews with experts from industry and science, think tanks, start-ups and anonymous employees from various organizations. Respondents were from teams for inclusion and diversity, tech and AI teams, UX and UI design teams, or were AI ethics and universal design experts.

Develop a definition of diversity and inclusivity

As diversity in the study has Capgemini defines the existence of differences in a given environment or situation. In the context of a tech team or the workplace, this generally refers to the presence of people with different backgrounds. Based on their gender identity, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, physical or mental requirements or their learning style.

The definition of an inclusive culture includes equal opportunities to develop further in the organization. This includes training and awareness-raising for integrative leadership, effective complaint processes in the case of gender-related, racist and ethnic discrimination. Plus the opportunity to share personal experiences with executives and peers. An inclusive culture also includes a feeling of inclusiveness, belonging and respect on the part of managers and teams. (sg)

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