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How to Successfully Create a Diverse IT Team


The fact that IT is still a man’s world is pretty well known; even Google, with the largest female staff, only has 30% women in their work force. So let’s turn our attention East to an e-commerce firm in Russia called Ozon. They have managed the following:

“…of our 2,800 employees, 48% are women (and in some of our subsidiaries, it’s reached 68%). Among our management team (staff members who have at least one person reporting directly to them), the female-male ratio also stands at 48%-52%.”

What are they doing differently than the rest of the IT companies around the globe?

In an article called This is How to Build a Gender Balanced Tech Company, all is revealed. The leaders at Ozon have examined what they do differently and boiled it down to six things:

  1. Focus on salaries.
  2. Open the door wide for female applicants.
  3. Made the workplace more flexible and family-friendly.
  4. Head hunters and recruiters were told: Bring us female candidates.
  5. Loop in the entire company.
  6. Provide coaching and mentorship.

They set out to purposefully add women to their workforce. They added programs that were family-friendly, they looked at salary by function rather than gender and they spread the word that Ozon was a great place for women to work.

The biggest deficit in terms of gender equality at Ozon lay in our IT department. So we made a decision, along with our key IT leaders, to remove all filters and systemically interview all the women who apply. A form of affirmative action, certainly, and no long-term solution, but it’s a clear example of how sometimes you need to find a way to break the log-jam.

This is perhaps the biggest takeaway – they “made a decision.”

In 2014, an article was written about Apple’s workforce with this title: Apple pledges to consider adding more women, minorities to board.

They pledge to CONSIDER. Interesting language.

The article includes a quote that spotlights the fact that Apple should be setting the example:

Apple, the world’s most valuable company, should set an example for others, said Larisa Ruoff, who runs shareholder advocacy and corporate engagement for the Sustainability Group.

“It’s clear that Apple is closely watched by Wall Street and Main Street, so any move the company makes is closely scrutinized,” Ruoff said.

Apple is the latest Silicon Valley to come under scrutiny for having male-dominated upper ranks. Facebook and Twitter each were heavily criticized before their initial public offerings for not having any female board members. Each has since added one.

“I think a lack of diversity is problematic for all companies, but I think it’s very problematic for companies like tech companies that consider themselves innovative and on the cutting edge to be behind on this issue,” Ruoff said.

So perhaps IT companies worldwide should take a closer look at what Ozon of Russia is doing to create a more balanced workforce; not just consider it, but take action!

Accelerate Your Impact 1 - http://bit.ly/AccelerateYourImpact

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