Dr. Cindy Gordon, CEO of SalesChoice Inc. was recently invited to be a speaker at the Capgemini “Applied Innovation Discover Series: Championing a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace”, along with other market leaders from Salesforce, Rogers Communications, and Environics Analytics. This series aimed to discuss how these market leaders are committing to and instilling, a more inclusive workplace to attract and retain strong talent as well as encouraging investment and participation in STEM fields for women.
Workplace inequality is an area of practical interest that is demanding in many ways. Among the many issues discussed by the speakers was one faced by the technology industry – not enough women in our Tech sector, and the inability to keep them in this sector.
Dr. Cindy Gordon highlighted some key facts on how tech-savvy women really are, as recently profiled by Deloitte Research (2018):
- Canadian women are more likely to own a smartphone than men (82 percent versus 77 percent), more likely to own a tablet or fitness band, and equally likely to own a computer.
- Women are driving mobile e-commerce, buying on a mobile device 25 percent more than men do, compared at 18 percent.
Dr. Gordon went on to discuss some major issues that every C-level executive in North America in the Tech sector has a responsibility to wake up to, and strive daily to make a major difference in closing these gaps:
- Women in Tech industry are earning on average 29% less than their male peers.
- Women receive lower salary offers than men for the same job at the same company, 62% of the time.
- Women in Tech companies have on average only 1% of the available board positions.
- VC’s invested last year just $1.46B in women-led tech start-ups, while investing over $58B in male-led investments.
Salesforce, a #1 leading global CRM company, recently made a strategic decision to investigate equity pay differences to ensure their women were compensated equally to their male counterparts. Patrick Duggan, RVP of Salesforce Canada, upon being asked how this was done, spoke to how every company has data available at its disposal: data about its employees in terms of their experiences, the work they do and the pay that they receive for it. Salesforce simply analyzed this data and bought in pay equality among all its employees to ensure that they were beyond gender biases. Today, Salesforce is a representation of its community and with a global employee base of 35 – 45k and a hiring speed of 6 -7k employees a year, Salesforce makes sure to follow best practices for its hiring processes by including diverse members in its hiring panel. This is a role model example for other companies to follow. All it takes is a simple audit and doing what is not only right but demonstrates trusted values.
In addition, according to recent McKinsey Research, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to generate financial performance above their national industry median than their peers in the bottom quartile for gender diversity. What we then realize is that the bigger issue on the table regarding Women in Tech points to one single factor. Culture.
Jan Kestle, President of Environics Analytics, a leader in the marketing information industry for more than forty years, feels that we are on the cusp of something great and all that is needed is to be vigilant. This vigilance needs to start from our own community. Jan emphasized her opinion on how the career of a woman should not be decided based on whether she plans to start a family and when. Over 60% of women in the technology industry have unwanted advances and have experienced blatant verbal and physical harassment. Blatant Objectification was highlighted recently in the Women in Tech Elephant in the Valley report. To cross the finish line of overcoming this issue, it comes down to our basic human values and the ability to not allowing negative parts of the culture to nibble away.
Dr. Cindy Gordon at the end stated that her message to all men and women today is that in order to transform our Technology industry in North America we have to have more courage and bring a stronger advocacy voice forward. It is no longer good enough to talk about this issue. We all need to act and change what is in our power to change.
Pooja Chitnis, Marketing Manager at SalesChoice Inc.