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Diversity in the workplace – why is it important?

As International Women’s Day 2015 approaches, it encourages companies and industry experts to take a step back and reflect on why diversity is important and what progress has been made in reaching a diverse workplace.

If we consider that technology and innovation are the big drivers in the economy, then in order to stay competitive companies must develop a strategy that continually innovates, elevates the use of technology and encourages diversity of talent.

If a company only employs those who are similar to themselves, then the result is a workplace in which everybody thinks and acts in the same way, and they are unlikely to achieve their optimum innovative capacity. Similarly they will not be able to fully represent the needs and interests of a diverse global market.

This is especially relevant in the technology industry, where gender is the biggest ‘unequaliser’ in this sector – given that technology is a huge driver and enabler in all industries, it is important that the technology industry can better represent its customer base and clients’ needs. Not only this, but a diverse workforce proactively encourages mutual respect of different work styles, brings varied strengths and skills to the business and promotes new ideas.

So what is the way forward?

The first step is to understand the importance of diversity, not only in better representing the needs of the markets we serve, but also to give companies a competitive advantage in doing so. The next step is to acknowledge where there are diversity issues in our existing workforces and the wider industry we operate in, and take positive actions to promote and advance diversity in the workplace. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is Make IT Happen – so let’s get going…