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Diversity In The Workplace Benefits: 5 Studies To Take To Your Boss

Recently, a recruiting manager at one of the world's largest companies told my team he was struggling to build a case for investing in more diversity-focused initiatives. His employees were questioning why their company would be spending money on diversity recruiting campaigns, including events, where women and people of color could hear why the company should be considered an inclusive place to work.

I was shocked. It's 2018. Homogeneous teams are not only bad for business and the economy as a whole, but diverse teams literally strengthen profits and innovation within workplaces.

Study after study has proven this.

Then it dawned on me that so many people are ill-equipped to make a case for the benefits of diversity in the workplace.

Don't worry. What follows is a quick guide for how to make the case. It includes research from Harvard, McKinsey, Gallup, and peer reviewed studies for you to lay out how your business could be reaching new levels of productivity, profitability, and long-term enhanced recruiting outcomes if diversity were to become a priority. Take this to your boss, skeptical colleagues, and even your uncle who argues that his male-dominated workplace doesn't need to change.


1. Diverse Teams Produce Financial Returns 33% Higher Than The Industry Mean  

A 2017 McKinsey Study used a data set of 1,000 companies to determine that profitability and long-term valuation increased dramatically when teams were diverse.

Say this to your boss and team members:

  • This McKinsey study proves that returns rise when you have people working at your company who represent the vast array of customers you're trying to reach.

2. Gender Diversity Could Grow The US Economy By 5%. 

Source: Building Inclusive Economies

The IMF showed that closing the gender gap in labor force participation in the United States could boost GDP by an estimated 5 percent.

Say this to your boss or team members:

  • When women have higher paying jobs, they create multiplier effects for their communities because they reinvest more than men do (look at the studies) into the health, nutrition, and education of their children.
  • It's called "womenomics" and instituting it literally saved Japan from a recession when its workforce was aging out.

3. Harvard: When There Are More Women On A Team, Collective Intelligence Rises 

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This Harvard Business Review study says it all:

"There's little correlation between a group's collective intelligence and the IQs of its individual members. But if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises."

Say this to your boss or team members:

  • Many studies show women score higher on social sensitivity tests. That means they share feedback and learn from customer cues, creating stronger products and financial returns.

4. Gender Diverse Teams Are Radically More Innovative Over A Two-Year Period  

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"In a study published in Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice, the authors analyzed levels of gender diversity in research and development teams from 4,277 companies in Spain. Using statistical models, they found that companies with more women were more likely to introduce radical new innovations into the market over a two-year period."

Say this to your boss or team members:

  • There's a reason why women, immigrants and people of color have propelled American innovation and started our most successful companies. They see windows of opportunity and products to modify that traditionally white all-male groups don't see.

5. Diverse Team Members Bring In More Diverse Team Members 

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Stacy Brown-Philpot, the CEO of TaskRabbit, spoke about the problem of not recruiting early for diversity at Google. When she joined Google they had about 1,000 employees. "It took me two and a half years to look around and realize there weren't a lot of people like me. So [my colleague] David Drummond and I…put together a group. It was really late. I think that's part of the challenge [at Google]." Brown-Philpot's story is backed up by a study that shows the cumulative effects of having the same people interact with each other over time.

Say this to your boss or team members:

  • Investing in diversity recruiting now will pay dividends. Diverse team members will help draw in more candidates from personal networks and we can speak truthfully that we cared about diversity - and all of its benefits - from day one.

How To Actually Diversify Your Workplace 

As made clear by the Google example, if you've waited years to make diversity in your workplace a priority, then you have a challenge ahead of you. It gets harder to diversify teams if you wait too long. But don't fret, you can still turn it around.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Ensure you have an environment diverse candidates want to join. Survey your workplace anonymously to ask what needs to be done to make it more inclusive. As Vernā Myers, VP of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix says, "Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance."
  • Throw an event, and partner with a diversity-focused organization like PowerToFly to run the invite list, programming, and follow-up so people feel engaged and heard.
  • Set goals that are realistic and look at how you're getting there. Often the simple things matter most: are you responding to diversity candidates and are you making sure they are interviewed by panels that aren't all white and male?


For more tips, check out this piece I wrote for The New York Times that highlights simple ways to ultimately employ more women and diverse candidates

7 Women in Software Engineering Share Their Experiences

A Look At The Challenges They've Faced & How Their Companies Support Them

We know that the ratio of women to men in software engineering is overwhelmingly low. Scroll through just about any company's roster on Linkedin and see for yourself. It's depressing.

If you're not in the mood to engage in that little experiment, just check out this PwC study that found that only 15% of employees in STEM roles in the U.K. are women, and that women hold a mere 5% of leadership roles in the tech sector.

However, we also know that diversity is the top priority for 78% of talent leaders. This is good news for us, because our goal at PowerToFly is to close these gender gaps as quickly as possible - and the more companies that get on board, the faster we can do that.

We partner with companies that are not only committed to diversity and inclusion, but to fostering a sense of belonging for underrepresented candidates once they accept job offers.

In the meantime, we know that the struggle for many women and other minorities in tech is still real, and that being a woman in this male-dominated industry is no cake walk. That's why we invited women engineers at some of our partner companies to share their experiences in their own words.

They shared some of the biggest challenges they've faced as women in tech and how they overcame them, as well as why they feel supported and enjoy working at their current companies.

We hope reading about these experiences will make other women in software engineering realize they're not alone in the challenges they're facing, and that there are lots of companies making strides to better support women in tech. We also hope that reading this will inspire more companies to follow suit, especially given that women leave the tech industry at twice the rate of men.

Hats off to these 7 women and to the companies that support their work:

What's the coolest thing Promptworks does to support women engineers?

"One of my favorite things about Promptworks is how all the female engineers support each other. Having an amazing group of colleagues to lean on, vent to, and seek advice from has been vital to me. As soon as I joined the engineering team, I felt immediately part of this amazing family of women who also have my back."

—M.K., Software Engineer at Promptworks

Want to join Promptworks' team of Women Engineers?
They're hiring!

More about PromptWorks:
Promptworks builds custom software for companies by creating amazing technologies that help achieve their vision.

Benefits include:
Monthly work-from-home flexibility, Collegial atmosphere with family-style lunch twice a week on us, ergonomic work stations including seated & standing pair programming stations, 100% company-paid medical, dental, and vision insurance, 401(k) plan with company matching and more!

Why did you choose to work at Yelp?

"The best thing about Yelp is the culture. I had an amazing interview process which reflected how much Yelp values their employees. Once I got through, I received a welcome card from my team and AWE group and I still feel very loved at Yelp. Also, I love the people! They are very smart and innovative and Yelp gives us all the freedom to vent out our creativity."

—Supriya, Backend Engineer at Yelp.

Want to join Yelp's team of Women Engineers?
They're hiring!

More about Yelp:
Yelp engineering culture is driven by our values: we're a cooperative team that values individual authenticity and encourages "unboring" solutions to problems.

Benefits include:
Medical, dental, and vision insurance - 100% covered for Yelp employees, 401k program with company match, parental program: Bright Horizons, mother's rooms, paid baby bonding leave, well being and stress management resources, and more!

What's the biggest challenge you've faced at Ubiquity6 and how did you overcome it?

"One of the personal challenges I've dealt with at Ubiquity6 is imposter syndrome, which was definitely amplified by working with so many incredible engineers. Thankfully, my team is really supportive and I have been able to take ownership over some important projects. The combination of getting great constructive feedback while framing my mindset towards improvement has really helped build my confidence as an engineer."

—Robyn, Software Engineer at Ubiquity6

Want to join Ubiquity6's team of Women Engineers?
They're hiring!

More about Ubiquity6:
Ubiquity6 works with the design, infrastructure, and game engine teams to help guide the user through complex workflows involving spatial mapping, dynamic code loading, and game engine orchestration. Their challenge is to tie together all the different pieces of technology in a way that feels seamless to the end user.

Benefits include:
Generous PTO, flexible work hours, work-from-home, remote positions, medical and dental benefits including family coverage, and more!

What's the coolest thing Verisign does to support women engineers?

"Verisign has been extremely warm and welcoming. Your opinions and ideas are heard irrespective your gender and position in the company. Verisign has a Women in Technology group which organizes monthly workshops and seminars, encouraging women to participate and demonstrate their skills. It is attended by the entire company and not just women. The company is full of empowering women who constantly motivate you to break the stereotypes and fulfill your passion."

—Shreyashi, Software Engineer at Verisign

Want to join Verisign's team of Women Engineers?
They're hiring!

More about Verisign:
Verisign, a leader in domain names and internet infrastructure, enables internet navigation for many of the world's most recognized domain names.

Benefits include:
Medical, dental, vision and prescription plans, traditional and Roth 401(k) with company match, basic life insurance, optional life insurance for employee, spouse or child(ren), home and auto insurance and more!

What’s one of the most impactful things One Medical does for women engineers?

"I recently attended a fireside chat with Sheryl Sandberg who pointed out that while there are increasing programs aimed at bringing women into technical roles, there aren't as many women being promoted. One of the most impactful things I see that One Medical does is actually hire and promote female engineers into both senior engineering roles and engineering management roles. Not only are they being promoted, but there is noticeable support before, during, and after the promotion. Growth and learning is a big part of the culture here, and I am excited to take part in such a fulfilling company."

—Vanessa, Data Engineer at One Medical

Want to join One Medical's team of Women Engineers?
They're hiring!

More about One Medical:
One Medical builds amazing end-to-end solutions to connect patients and our care team in new and innovative ways.highly collaborative environment, not only will you be partnering with designers and product managers, you'll also be sitting shoulder to shoulder with the doctors and nurses who deliver care daily to One Medical patients.

Benefits include:
Top-notch dental, vision, and health insurance, paid parental leave, PTO, paid holidays, and sabbatical at 5 and 10 years
401K Match, One Medical membership for you and your family and more!

What's the coolest thing Fair does to support women engineers?

"Gender equity is a big thing at Fair. I once received a Fair-branded jacket that didn't quite fit right in the sleeves and waist. I tried to return it, but my boss wouldn't hear of it, citing Susan Fowler's leather jacket incident. Fair immediately offered to cover the jacket alteration costs for myself and other women in the company. I'm grateful to work at a place that values and includes its female employees as much as Fair does."

—Michelle, Lead Software Engineer at Fair.

Want to join Fair's team of Women Engineers?
They're hiring!

More about Fair:
Fair is looking for highly motivated engineers interested in delivering the next level of innovation to product search and discovery at Fair. You'll be designing and implementing new search features and the systems behind them, including the integration of natural language processing, heuristics, and machine learning systems used to generate and rank search results. You'll work with microservices on AWS, multiple languages, and a great engineering team with a fun culture.

Benefits include:
Equity incentives, 100% coverage of medical, vision and dental premiums for employees and their families, 100% paid parental leave for 4 months, 401(k) retirement plans and free lunch 5 days a week for every employee and more!

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?

"Coming from coding school, my background was not in computer science nor did I graduate from college with a degree in engineering, so it has always been a bit of a struggle to build myself up. I remind myself that everyone is going through a learning process. I have spoken to my mentor about having imposter syndrome when I first started working at Yelp. He let me know that even he has moments of imposter syndrome. It is easier to relate to somebody when you hear that they are going through the same struggles as you and it's a good reminder that nobody is here to judge you. I think it's great that even when you mess up you don't have to be worried about getting fired. Yelp has a very supportive environment. In times of adversity I try to calm myself down and realize that everyone makes mistakes and tries to learn from them to be better."

—Julie, Full Stack Engineer at Yelp.

Scroll up or click here to learn more about Yelp & how to join their team.

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Want to see more great roles at companies committed to recruiting more women in software engineering? Check out our job board!

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