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Gross mismatch between DEI perceptions on top and ground reality

Thursday August 12, 2021, By Diversity Digest

A study has revealed that about 90 percent of global businesses struggle with DEI initiatives within their technology and IT teams, resulting in non-inclusive products and discriminatory experiences for consumers. 

‘The key to designing inclusive tech: creating diverse and inclusive tech teams’, a report released by the Capgemini Research Institute on July 23, highlights the wide gap in the perceptions across boards, when it comes to equity, inclusion, and fostering a sense of belonging among ethnic minorities and women. 

The study involved 500 tech employees, women, and persons from ethnic minority communities and 500 leadership executives from large organizations across nine countries in key consumer-facing industries. The institute also spoke to 5,000 consumers, predominantly women, and persons from ethnic minority communities.

Not on the same page

The report says that though 85% of leadership executives believe their organizations offer equitable opportunities for career development and promotions to every employee across their organizations, only 19% of women and ethnic minority employees agree. The mismatch in the perception is a problem as leaders believe they have made the necessary strides, while the ground reality is different. The gap gets all the more stark — while 75% of leadership executives believe that women and ethnic minorities have a sense of belonging in their organizations, but 24% of these employees in tech functions concur. Around 53% of women and ethnic minority employees are not at ease sharing personal experiences with other employees and peers, and about 9% of them feel the same comfort level with their leadership.

Poor representation; perception among consumers

The report also highlights the wide disparity within the tech teams. Only 16 percent of ethnic minority tech employees and women feel they have a fair representation in the tech teams. While one in five employees is a woman in the tech team, one in six in the same team is an ethnic minority.

An interesting takeaway is how discrimination translates into the consumer experience. The report has found out that ’76 percent of ethnic-minority consumers expect organizations to develop technologies that can be used by a diverse set of consumers. About  50 percent of women from ethnic minorities were offered lower credit facilities for certain banking products. 40 percent of ethnic-minority consumers faced difficulty in accessing information that was relevant to their gender and ethnicity while using healthcare services online.’

On the contrary, the report observes that diverse and inclusive teams are four times more likely to come up with inclusive products.

Solutions by design

The report offers a line-up of solutions aimed at building a diverse and inclusive workforce. The strategies include developing robust processes, practices, and value systems for inclusion and keeping diverse users at the heart of designing inclusive tech/digital products and services. The report also calls for driving fairness in AI systems, reducing algorithmic biases, and laying down the technological and data foundations for fostering inclusion.

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Diversity Digest
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