Diversity recruiting in the tech industry

Teams with different characters

Frankfurt, (PresseBox) - Diversity pays off for everyone. Gradually, the diversity movement is changing business. Diversity provides various economic benefits for the company and has been classified as a success factor for many years. The tech industry is a pioneer when it comes to diversity. In many tech companies, highly diversified teams with wildly different backgrounds have become indispensable.

Tech companies often actively encourage the utilisation of heterogeneous teams. It has been recognized that it is an advantage, especially in project teams, not to be restricted to a single standpoint. Consequently, teams composed of people with different characteristics, skills and ways of life, come up with more innovative and creative results than homogeneous teams. In addition, diversified teams often lead to a better working atmosphere. Finally, it seems reasonable to assume that a heterogeneous and international workforce would be a major advantage when it comes to opening up new markets.

In many other companies, diversity is simply an inevitability because the German labour market does not provide sufficient employees with the required skills. Consequently, employees are often recruited from abroad for vacancies in areas such as in software development. Diversity then comes about of itself.

In some areas, it may be perfectly normal that in a team of 30 employees, there are sometimes 20 different nationalities employed – and the only common language is English.

Moving in new directions
The technology industry, in particular, is approaching, for the reasons stated above, the status of an ‘equal opportunity’ employer in terms of attributes such as gender and nationality. But does this mean that diversity is fully implemented?

Often, staff have gone through very similar training and worked in the same company; in other words, they come from the same ‘talent foundry’. Managers tend to have a bias to a ‘just like me’ syndrome. They employ people who have followed a similar career path to themselves and come from companies that have a similar prestige level in terms of market positioning and culture. This attitude is understandable, but restricts the diversity in the team. Career changers who, for example, have undergone different kinds of training or come from ‘other industries’, may have gaps in their knowledge and their work in the team may seem a little ‘awkward’ because they adopt a different approach. But it is precisely this different and fresh look at challenges as well as their complementary experience that can help teams make significant progress.

When it comes to recruiting, it is important to come into contact with candidates who have taken a different career path and to employ personnel selection methods that elicit the most comprehensive and objective picture of new employees, to eliminate the possible influence of the ‘just like me’ bias. Focusing exclusively on candidates with a linear career progression at competitor companies reduces diversity in the workforce and reduces the positive effects of team diversity in the company. In other words, the task for personnel marketing and recruiting should be to attract employees with diverse skill sets and ways of life and, already during the recruiting process, to examine exactly what kinds of professional or cultural input are required to ease new employees’ transition into the company.

This investment pays off. Teams of employees who have different characteristics, skills and experience, but all share a passion for the same issues and goals, have greater success and create an attractive work environment. A well-considered recruiting strategy lays the foundation for this.

Author
Dr. Monika Becker, Head of Business Unit Software, Hager Unternehmensberatung

Dr. Monika Becker has been active as a consultant for Hager Unternehmensberatung since 2001.
In the Business Unit Software, she and her team fill demanding technical and leadership positions for clients whose business consists of solutions based on standard software or custom software developments.

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