Diversity matters: How five tech startups are improving workplace diversity
Tuesday, July 16, 2019/
Creating diversity is a complex problem, particularly in specialised sectors like technology.
Education, government and media are key sectors in bringing about change. Business, while also being key, differs in that it needs diversity. As the consumer of diversity, businesses have the most to gain when we get diversity right.
Past TechDiversity Award Business category winners have proven just that. In creating innovative diversity programs, brands including REA Group, Vodafone and Avanade are using technology to foster diversity.
Five of these businesses talk through their processes.
Check your biases
As a global jobs network, Work180 advocates for working women across multiple companies and industries by providing job applicants with a transparent directory of endorsed employers supporting diversity, inclusion and equality.
This process begins by screening employers, asking them to share information around pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and other criteria. This allows Work180 to assess employers’ acceptance of age, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation before allowing them to join the network.
Even employers who don’t make it through this check then undergo the next steps to improving and developing workforce participation.
Create an inclusive community
Outcome-Hub is a co-working space between University of Melbourne and RMIT with an open-door policy for international students to visit, spend time, engage and even start a business. In 2018, Outcome-Hub welcomed over 4000 people and hosted 60 events to inspire internationals to participate in the local start-up community.
The core project is facilitating placements of international students into internships with startups in Australia. With well over 100 placements been made to date, these startups gain the advantage of a culturally diverse business while many interns become valuable long-term team members or start their own business.
This is supported by their digital marketplace, InternMatch, which helps to connect even more international students with start-ups.
Open specific opportunities
Envato’s in-house Apprentice Developer Program was created to tackle the industry-wide skill shortage and gender diversity challenge. The program is only open to female applicants and provides mentorship for apprentice developers, equipping them with the skills to become junior developers.
It aims to ensure capable female coders have a clearer pathway to entry in a highly skilled and technical job through a combination of classroom and immersive-style learning. As apprentices grow from programming real tasks with mentors to fully fledged engineering team members, Envato gains trusted employees while offering women opportunities to grow and network.
Invest in the future
Joko’s World, Cultural Infusion’s interactive learning apps for children aged 7-14, blend global music, geography and culture in an innovative and educational way to improve children’s cultural awareness and understanding.
By stimulating and engaging the next generation with unique customs and traditions around the world, the app develops multicultural appreciation and curiosity from a young age through a digital platform.
Cultural Infusion also developed Ancestry Atlas, a sophisticated tool that enables an organisation, school or group to map their cultural diversity. Partnering with the Australian National University (ANU), this app further encourages children to look at real word diversity.
Women make over 85% of purchase decisions equating to $874 billion last year alone. Femeconomy’s mission is for women to shop female lead brands. Femeconomy researched over 2000 brands finding those with at least 30% of women on their Board of Directors or 50% female owned.
Currently over 800 brands meet Femeconomy’s approval criteria for an approval badge on the website. The goal is to map all businesses meeting this criteria in Australia, then the US and UK, in an effort to raise consumer awareness of gender equality in company leadership.
More women in leadership benefits business. Research from Peterson Institute of International Economics shows that moving from no women in corporate leadership to 30% is associated with a 15% increase in profitability.