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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Tech Sector

Posted: 23 Aug 2022

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Tech Sector

Employers who can demonstrate diversity, equity and inclusion have an advantage when hiring tech talent, says Eolas Recruitment.

“The perceived fairness of how a company treats its workforce—how inclusive it is and whether it values diversity—can be the deciding factor when candidates are choosing between potential employers,” says Eolas Recruitment Senior Technical Consultant Nicola Byrne.

“In the tech sector, where shortage of skilled candidates can hold back a company’s ability to develop and grow, employers with a well thought out DEI strategy that is reflected in their job descriptions and adverts can differentiate themselves from their competitors. That’s a big advantage in the current market,” says Nicola.

So, what is DEI?

Diversity is about recognising difference and acknowledging the benefit of having a range of perspectives in an organisation. While some differences are visible (like gender, race or disability), many others (like autism, socioeconomic status or sexual orientation) are invisible.

Equity is about fairness in procedures, policies and resource allocation. The objective is to ensure that everyone is treated the same and has access to the same resources and opportunities.

Inclusion is about enabling everyone in the organisation to contribute and thrive.

DEI in action

In the last few years, with evidence emerging that DEI can improve a company’s performance, stimulate innovation and make it easier to attract and retain talent, it’s not surprising that companies are setting goals and seeking to enhance their reputation in this area.

Leading tech industry players like Google, Apple, Meta and Microsoft all publish details of their progress towards achieving DEI goals while organisations like CIPD provide resources to promote and support DEI in the workplace.

DEI barriers

Yet despite increased investment, a lack of role models, particularly at leadership level, is one of the key barriers to achieving DEI goals.

Eolas Recruitment Principal Consultant Stephen Daly, cites Ireland’s gender gap in tech as an example of an area where faster progress is needed. Only around 30% of ICT workers in Ireland are female according to CSO statistics for the first quarter of 2022.

Says Stephen, “The question of how to attract more women into the tech sector has been around for decades. We really need to be taking action much earlier if we are ever going to get to grips with this. In education, for example we need to improve teachers’ understanding of tech related careers. But at a broader level, tackling diversity is about much more than just addressing the gender gap. It’s also about things like addressing bias in hiring, people management, workplace processes, even algorithms. We’re starting to see greater awareness, particularly in larger organisations and growth-focused companies, that failing to do this potentially excludes a significant talent pool—something employers don’t want to do in a sector where there is fierce competition for candidates.”

Mission-led

Another trend that employers need to take into account is candidates’ desire to contribute to society and the greater good. This is particularly strong among early- and mid-career candidates, says Stephen.

“Generation Z and millennials are highly mission-driven. They want to understand the significance of their role, what they will accomplish and why it matters. Companies with a strong mission who can provide clear answers to these questions have an advantage and are more likely to find that employees stay with them for a longer time. So, this is another trend we advise employers to keep in mind when planning and developing career paths and hiring strategies.”

Does my workforce look like me?

As in most spheres of life, there can be a difference between what organisations say they do and what they actually do in practice.

“You might think your company embraces diversity, but asking, ‘Does my workforce look like me?’ can be a revealing question,” says Nicola.

“If the answer is ‘yes’, you probably have scope to improve your DEI.”

How to improve DEI

Promoting DEI is not a once-off initiative. It is an ongoing process and progress needs to be tracked. The first step is to secure management and board level buy-in as without this, success is unlikely.

Typically, enhancing DEI involves identifying gaps in your organisation and checking for biases in your people management processes, including hiring policies.

Once you have developed a strategy, practical actions to support it include investing in training for management, team leaders and staff.

Impact on recruitment

From a recruitment perspective, addressing DEI typically involves widening the talent pool, looking for opportunities to accommodate flexible working and reviewing job descriptions and job adverts to check for bias. In addition, companies who provide opportunities for interns may need to review their internship policy.

As always, if you are a company seeking to source candidates for IT roles, Eolas Recruitment would like to assist you. With more than 20 years’ experience in the IT sector, we understand what you are looking for and have the resources to manage every stage of your hiring process, from identifying candidates to screening applicants, arranging interviews and negotiating contracts. Now is the time to anticipate and plan for future needs bearing in mind that in a tight labour market, focusing on DEI can improve your talent pipeline.

Likewise, if you are a tech worker looking for opportunities to advance your career, please register with Eolas Recruitment so that we can alert you to relevant roles. We also recommend keeping an eye on our job listings. You can find out more about how we work with candidates by viewing our informational videos and reading our online reviews.

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I've had a great experience with Eolas and with their staff who are always keeping me informed and giving me professional advice. Specifically, Stephen Daly, who has always been kind and very patient with me as I started out on my new recruitment journey.
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I had a great experience with Eolas.I got help preparing for my interview. I was thoroughly informed about what the interview was going to be like. I was also kept up to date with my progress after the interview. Nicola kept in touch with me even after I started the job to make sure everything was okay.I would highly recommend Nicola :)
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My experience working with Eolas was and remains excellent. I had not contracted before, so they explained everything I needed to know and informed me of who else I had to contact within related organisations, to complete my preparation for and to facilitate the expeditious engagement of my first contract. Stephen Daly walked me through my contract and all other related matters, their online personal account and documentation system is excellent. Stephens support and communications were always timely and absolute, no query was too large or small, all were answered quickly and comprehensibly. I could not recommend Eolas more, they are a completely professional, reliable and supportive oganisation and I am happy to remain with them going forward.
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Its been a real pleasure to work with Eolas recruitment. Caroline Gaughan really went above and beyond to support me through the process of securing a new role. I would highly reccomend them to anyone.
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My experience with Eolas Recruitment was great. I had the pleasure of dealing with Caroline Gaughan who guided me through a lengthy interview process. Caroline was very responsive during the entire process right up to and after the job offer, making sure I had everything I needed. Everything was handled on my behalf. I would highly recommend Eolas Recruiting. Thank you for all your help.
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