This blog was authored by guest blogger, Danielle Jackson. Danielle is a communications leader for Capgemini’s A3 Employee Resource Group. In this article, Danielle shares her thoughts about diversity in careers in technology.
If you work in a technical field, have you noticed the lack of diversity that surrounds you?
The presence of minorities within the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields has been significantly low throughout history. The United States National Science Foundation (NSF) reported a stark decline in STEM bachelor’s degrees earned by African Americans, especially women, within the past decade; they further cited that people of color within the US represent only 5% of the total STEM workforce. Forbes also cited that “97% of companies within the United States fail to have senior leadership teams that reflect our ethnic labor force.” Several statistics boil down to the same conclusion: there is a large gap between our ethic compositions within the nation versus within the STEM workforce.
So there is a clear underrepresentation of minorities within STEM fields. But how does that impact your business?
- Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to have higher financial returns than the national average.
- “Diverse companies are 70% more likely to report their firm has captured a new market.”
- “For every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8 percent.”
The benefits of a highly diverse labor force are strong. But action must be taken in order to achieve these incredible results:
Engage within your workplace community. Awareness if the first step at tackling any problem. Creating conversations with colleagues about diversity will help spark change. Only after there is a solid understanding of the problem can there be a solution. If your organization has Employee Resource Groups (ERG), like Capgemini, galvanize ERG members to refer candidates for available positions…increasing the likelihood of penetration into more diverse candidate pools.
Get involved in initiatives that promote diversity. Due to the strong performance benefits of a diverse workforce, many companies have invested countless hours and dollars towards diversifying their workplace. Chances are, your company has a vast amount of programs you can contribute to. Ask around and become a catalyst for change.
Lead by example. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of change occurs within yourself. Take the opportunity to challenge your own biases as you discover them; and encourage others to keep you accountable. Prove that you are a champion for diversity through your own actions, and it will motivate others to do the same.
Luckily, some of the groundwork for change has already been accomplished by up-and-coming powerhouses within the Science and Technology realm. Individuals and organizations across the country have been making notable strides to increase the minority presence within the STEM fields.
The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) is a prime example of an organization geared towards increasing minorities’ opportunities within STEM related education and careers. They partner with over 50 universities across the United States in order to promote African American, American Indian, and Latino access to scholarships and corporate exposure.
Another organization, Black Girls CODE, has committed to the goal of training 1 million girls to code by 2040. They target 8 cities across the United States and South Africa, and are determined to expand further. Black Girls CODE organizes outreach programs such as workshops and after-school classes- all with the devotion to proving that girls of any heritage have the skills to become the technological trendsetters of tomorrow.
Capgemini has also taken steps to promote inclusion within the workplace, through many global and local initiatives. For instance, the Employee Resource Group (ERG), A³, focuses on furthering the development of diversity and inclusion within Capgemini, with an emphasis on the African American community. Another ERG, HOLA, has a similar mission with focus on the Hispanic community. Other programs include embedding diversity sessions within leadership development, and striving to increase diversity in recruitment.
As a whole, the STEM community provides an undeniable value to the advancement of a nation’s prosperity. In order to maintain global competitiveness, there is an increasing demand for rapid development to support swiftly changing consumer demands. Diversity within the STEM workforce can promote diversity within the ideas of those driving future innovations. As with most great things, lasting change will take significant time and effort. I hope you are inspired to play a role in the journey ahead!
Thank you for reading! Danielle joined Capgemini in June 2016 after graduating from the University of Oklahoma. She is aligned to the Chicago office and is a data analyst within the CSD service line. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring new cities, conversing with friends, and obsessing over puppy photos. Danielle’s favorite pastime is taking long, romantic walks on the beach… and being sarcastic.
Additional information about Capgemini’s ERG program, can be found via the blog links below.
 US National Science Foundation Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering 2017 Report, https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/digest/about-this-report/
 Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2013/12/how-diversity-can-drive-innovation
 McKinsey Report, Diversity Matters, http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters