- For front-runners, inclusion and diversity practices constitute a source of innovation and differentiation (67%), increased revenue (56%), and enhanced customer satisfaction (51%).
- Organizations with diverse and inclusive tech teams are 4 times more likely to create inclusive products.
- As the pandemic puts greater pressure on recruiting tech talent, enterprises’ focus on diversity and inclusion is at risk.
Paris, July 23, 2021 – 90% of global businesses struggle with inclusion and diversity practices within their technology/ IT teams according to ‘The key to designing inclusive tech: creating diverse and inclusive tech teams’ report released today by the Capgemini Research Institute. Current inclusion and diversity practices in technology are inadequate. Recognition of a lack of inclusion from the top is a key enabler to access diverse communities. Organizations that focus on diversity and inclusion in their tech teams will benefit from innovation, revenue, and brand value opportunities, highlights the report.
Over the course of the pandemic, great pressure has been placed upon businesses to recruit tech talent from a shrinking pool. As enterprises have struggled to find the appropriate talent to fulfil their needs, the focus on good diversity and inclusion practices has slipped. A gulf has emerged between the leadership’s positive perception of inclusion in IT and tech teams and the harsh reality experienced by ethnic minority and female team members. According to the report, 85% of leadership executives believe their organizations provide equitable opportunities for career development and promotions to every employee across their organizations, but only 18% of women and ethnic minority employees agree. This misalignment adds to a perpetuating Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) problem across industries deploying technologies for end-users as leaders believe progress is being made, but tech employees on the ground remain pessimistic about the reality. The spectrum of the perception gap is vast. 75% of leadership executives believe that women and ethnic minorities feel a sense of belonging in their organizations, but only 24% of these employees in tech functions concur. 53% of women and ethnic minority employees feel comfortable sharing personal experiences with other employees and peers, whereas only 9% of them feel the same comfort level with their leadership.
Only 16% of women and ethnic-minority tech employees believe that they are well represented in tech teams. Further, in IT/tech teams, only one in five employees is female, and one in six is from an ethnic-minority community. When it comes to career opportunities, the gap between non-diverse and male employees and ethnic-minority tech employees and women tech employees is palpable; for instance, just 22% of Black tech employees feel they have an equal opportunity to grow compared to their non-diverse colleagues.
The perception gap between leadership and women and ethnic minorities in tech functions on inclusion processes and measures is narrower for organizations with an advanced inclusive culture. When asked whether women and ethnic minorities have equal access to employee resources, groups, and HR as compared to other employees from non-diverse backgrounds, the perception gap between inclusive organizations and the rest is significant (31% compared with 55%).
Consumers are aware of and are experiencing tech-based discrimination
Consumers are experiencing discriminatory technologies because of deficient diversity and inclusion practices in the tech teams of global businesses. In the financial services sector, for instance, 50% of ethnic minorities on average believe they were offered lower credit for certain banking products online, compared to 28% of customers who were not from ethnic minority communities. Meanwhile in healthcare, 43% of women and consumers from ethnic minority communities believe they were not shown healthcare facilities in high-end locations or those offering very specialized services.
As a result, consumers are concerned about discriminatory technology and are increasingly conscious of how their data is used and how it might impact them negatively. For example, two thirds (66%) of ethnic minority consumers say they worry that their personal data could be used to negatively impact their employment opportunities.
The report highlights that organizations with diverse and inclusive tech teams are 4 times more likely to create inclusive products.
Shobha Meera, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer and Group Executive Committee Member at Capgemini, comments: “In a world of increasing demand for tech-fueled products and services that are free of discrimination and are inclusive by design, the importance of inclusive tech workforces, cultures and practices, is more important than ever. And yet, we see a wide gap not only in the state of inclusive representation in the tech workforce of organizations, but also in the perceptions of leaders Vs women and ethnic minorities on the state of inclusion in tech. This report draws attention to the urgent need for organizations and leaders to embrace this reality and focus on improving diversity and inclusion in tech teams in a challenging talent environment.”
Organizations need to build an effective inclusion strategy, beyond upping education and awareness at the highest levels, concludes the report. Organizations need to deploy various processes, policies and value systems that champion inclusion. This includes diversity and anti-harassment policies, and a clear inclusion mandate for technology teams. Leaders of technology teams need to ensure that women and ethnic-minority employees are given equal opportunities for career growth, progression, and input into product development, while also building the tech and data foundations for measuring, monitoring and improving inclusion outcomes. Fairness in AI systems must also be deployed while checking and correcting for algorithmic biases. Lastly, organizations must keep diverse users at the heart of their product design, development and deployment processes.
To download a copy of the report, click here.
The Capgemini Research Institute carried out extensive research with qualitative and quantitative components. Capgemini conducted executive and consumer surveys. The focus was on the experience of women and persons of ethnic-minority communities across both surveys. Capgemini also spoke to women and persons of color and ethnic-minority communities in focus-group discussions and in-depth interviews, along with other industry experts. Capgemini surveyed 500 organizations with one tech employee and one leadership respondent from each organization, a total of 1,000 executive respondents. To capture the end-user perspective, Capgemini also surveyed 5,000 consumers. Capgemini conducted 32 in-depth interviews with industry experts, academics, think tanks, start-ups, and anonymized employees from various organizations. The experts and employees were from inclusion and diversity teams; tech and AI teams; UX and UI design teams; and AI ethics and universal design experts.
Note to Editors
Capgemini defines diversity as the presence of differences in a given environment/setting. In the context of a tech team or the workplace, it would generally refer to the presence of persons from diverse backgrounds, including (but not limited to) gender identity, ethnicity (race, religion, nationality, etc.), socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, and learning style.
Capgemini defines Inclusive culture as equal opportunity to grow in the organization; training and awareness for inclusive leadership, robust grievance-redressal mechanism for gender/race/ethnicity-based discrimination; comfort in sharing personal experiences with leadership and peers; and a sense of inclusion, belonging, and respect from their leadership and teams. Whereas inclusive design practices is defined by awareness and importance of inclusive design within the organization and throughout product development, view on whether digital products and design process are inclusive, level of end-user/consumer involvement in digital design and development process, level of checks and balances to minimize ethnicity and gender-based exclusions.
Capgemini is a global leader in partnering with companies to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology. The Group is guided everyday by its purpose of unleashing human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future. It is a responsible and diverse organization of 270,000 team members in nearly 50 countries. With its strong 50 year heritage and deep industry expertise, Capgemini is trusted by its clients to address the entire breadth of their business needs, from strategy and design to operations, fueled by the fast evolving and innovative world of cloud, data, AI, connectivity, software, digital engineering and platforms. The Group reported in 2020 global revenues of €16 billion.
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About the Capgemini Research Institute
The Capgemini Research Institute is Capgemini’s in-house think-tank on all things digital. The Institute publishes research on the impact of digital technologies on large traditional businesses. The team draws on the worldwide network of Capgemini experts and works closely with academic and technology partners. The Institute has dedicated research centers in India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It was recently ranked #1 in the world for the quality of its research by independent analysts.
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 Organizations with an advanced inclusive culture: Top-25-percentile organizations with strong inclusive culture and practices (based on parameters such as equal opportunity of growth, sense of inclusion, belonging and respect from their leadership and teams), out of all the surveyed organizations.