Diversity In Tech: Bridging the Gap With LATAM Developers

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Rafael Timbó
By
Rafael Timbó
|
Chief Technology Officer
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The tech industry is actively pursuing a more heterogeneous workforce, and LATAM developers offer a promising path forward. This article explores the evolving state of diversity in tech, uncovering valuable insights and practical strategies to promote a more inclusive and innovative future within the industry.
Published on
April 10, 2024
Updated on
May 3, 2024

Diversity in tech has long been a touted buzzword among industry leaders and decision-makers. Yet, despite persistent efforts to bridge the inclusivity gap, virtually every branch in this expanding sector continues to grapple with a lack of representation across demographic groups, especially in leadership roles. Data suggests that the US is expected to have nearly 6 million tech workers by 2030, forecasting steady growth. Still, a 2023 National Science Foundation report found that underrepresented groups make up less than 35% of the STEM workforce.

Failing to address this issue only exacerbates existing inequities regarding gender, ethnic, and racial diversity, leading to missed opportunities for tech talent and the industry as a whole. A potential solution lies in tapping into the skills and perspectives of Latin American (LATAM) developers. This article explores the current state of diversity in technology and outlines actionable methods to cultivate a more plural and successful workforce.

What Does Diversity in Tech Mean?

Diversity in tech refers to attracting and retaining employees from different backgrounds to grow gender-diverse, multicultural teams that reflect the broader population. This intentional effort aims to foster a blend of perspectives and ideas that promotes innovation, creativity and enhanced problem-solving across tech organizations. Diversity initiatives from within the industry help address disparities related to demographics, such as:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Health conditions/disabilities

Although tech hiring trends have slowly diversified over the past decade, questions about the tech industry's demographic makeup continue to linger. Women in tech jobs account for only 26.9% of the total industry workforce, and Black or African American, Asian, and Hispanic or Latinx individuals comprise just 9.2%, 24%, and 8.8%, respectively. These figures highlight systemic barriers, including unconscious bias, lack of access to educational opportunities, and discriminatory hiring practices.

Yet, there are numerous encouraging examples of tech companies actively pushing for diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) practices. Salesforce, for instance, invests in initiatives like its apprenticeship program, which provides pathways for individuals from underrepresented groups. On a similar note, Microsoft's inclusive hiring reports help keep the company accountable and help identify and mitigate bias in their recruitment process.

How Does an Inclusive Culture Address Diversity Issues?

Building an inclusive culture in tech means fostering an environment where diverse voices are heard, valued, and empowered to contribute. More than simple representation, this effort entails creating a sense of belonging within each tech organization. The goal is to give each team member a place to thrive, regardless of their unique characteristics and circumstances. A true inclusive culture offers:

  • A secure space for open dialogue and collaboration: Employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions, ideas, and concerns without fear of judgment or reprisal.
  • Empowerment and ownership: Everyone has equal access to resources, opportunities, and decision-making processes.
  • Respectful communication: Team members use inclusive language and value diverse viewpoints.
  • Continuous learning: The organization actively seeks to understand and address unconscious bias and instill inclusive behaviors through training and workshops.

The benefits of encouraging diversity and inclusion in tech are undeniable. Research indicates that companies with diverse leadership teams experience 21% higher profitability. The many perks of strong DEI work cultures translate to increased innovation, more robust employee engagement, and a competitive edge. Tech diversity also promotes ethical and responsible development of technology, ensuring it echoes the needs and realities of diverse and evolving audiences.

Unfortunately, diverse talent continues to face work environments where prejudice, microaggressions, and a lack of belonging persists. A lack of diversity, equity, and inclusivity culture often leads to employee disengagement, burnout, and even talent loss — with quiet quitting becoming a prevalent trend. Furthermore, tech products and services designed without diverse perspectives in mind may perpetuate harmful stereotypes. The lower the number of women, people of color, and other minorities involved in the development of new tech, the higher these risks may be.

How to Drive Diversity in Technology Companies

Diversity issues in tech lead to homogeneity, and homogeneity often leads to stagnation. Diverse perspectives are crucial for generating groundbreaking ideas, challenging assumptions, and creating better tech solutions. The consequences of a non-diverse tech workforce are far-reaching, impacting everything from employee engagement and retention to market relevance and profitability.

However, achieving diversity in tech isn't a simple task. Systemic barriers and narrow recruitment pipelines create significant obstacles for underrepresented groups in tech jobs. Besides, a lack of inclusive work environments leads to feelings of isolation in the workplace, further hindering the integration and advancement of diverse talent.

Fortunately, there are numerous actions industry leaders take to increase diversity within the tech space — starting in their own organizations.

1. Redefining Recruitment Practices

Move beyond traditional channels and actively connect with organizations focused on diverse talent pipelines. Some examples are historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) or Women in Technology (WIT) groups.

To increase impartiality in the tech hiring process, implement strategies to support DEI efforts, like writing inclusive job descriptions and using a blind screening approach. Remove identifying information from resumes to mitigate unconscious bias during the initial screening process. Conduct blind interviews and ensure fair evaluation by making assessments solely on qualifications and skills.

2. Fostering an Inclusive Culture

An inclusive company culture is paramount to building trust and encouraging collaboration. A shift of mentality won't happen overnight, but taking proactive measures undoubtedly speeds up the process.

For instance, equipping employees with the necessary knowledge and tools to recognize and address unconscious bias in themselves and others will keep team members accountable. Alternatively, pairing diverse talent with experienced role models and sponsors will facilitate professional growth and foster a supportive environment for career development.

Additionally, you'll want to offer safe spaces for employees from diverse backgrounds to connect, share experiences, and advocate for their needs. Remember to set measurable objectives and track them over time to gauge the effectiveness of key initiatives.

3. Building Equitable Development Opportunities

Not everyone has the resources to seek upskilling opportunities outside of work. Providing inclusive and accessible training programs shows talent that an organization cares about their professional development. Consider offering financial aid, mentorship opportunities, and access to technology resources to gear them up for success.

Besides helping staff members advance their careers through education and training, acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of diverse employees and showcase their achievements company-wide. Moreover, compensation and promotion policies should be regularly reviewed and adjusted to ensure they are equitable and bias-free. Doing so will help companies close the pay gap and make employees feel valued, respected, and fairly rewarded for their contributions.

Furthermore, leaders could promote job enrichment strategies across teams and departments, redesigning job tasks to make them more challenging and rewarding. This approach will provide diverse employees with a greater sense of fulfillment and engagement in their tech roles.

4. Leveraging Technology for Inclusivity

A data-driven DEI plan ensures that you're making the right choices and allows companies to adapt key strategies to better support diversity and inclusion initiatives. Seek and implement management and analytics applications to pinpoint areas where efforts need improvement.

Technology is also a vital element in the tech hiring process. In 2023, 71% of companies using anti-bias hiring strategies reported seeing a noticeable improvement in their workforce diversity. To keep up with diversity hiring needs, advocate for and invest in the necessary tools that facilitate unbiased screening and fair candidate skill testing. Likewise, use AI resources that create inclusive job descriptions or improve existing ones to reflect core diversity principles.

5. Building a Diverse Leadership Team

Don't let diverse talent get stuck in entry-level positions. Monitor their performance periodically and offer leadership development opportunities for those interested. Invest in programs that equip diverse employees with the skills and confidence to broaden their horizons and pursue their ambitions.

Make sure, however, that hiring panels for leadership roles reflect the company's diversity goals and mitigate unconscious bias. Set clear expectations for leadership when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusivity within their teams.

6. Engaging With Your Community

Even beyond your company, ample opportunities exist to enable diversity in the tech space. For example, companies may partner with non-profit organizations and advocacy groups working towards similar goals. A different alternative is to publicly communicate your diversity goals and progress to attract diverse talent and inspire like-minded organizations to do the same.

Participating in diversity and inclusion events is another great example of how companies contribute to a community's diversity and inclusion efforts. Sponsor and attend conferences, workshops, and hackathons focused on promoting diversity in the tech industry.

Hire LATAM Developers to Drive Diversity in Your Organization

Diversity in tech still has a long way to go, but leaders who have the foresight and strategy to implement strong DEI standards will continue to reap the rewards of a diverse workforce. However, shifting from diversity as an ideal to actionable diversity is a difficult and resource-heavy process for any organization. 

Revelo helps companies by matching you with LATAM developers who are time-zone-aligned and rigorously vetted for soft and technical skills. We’ll continually support you in handling payroll, benefits administration, taxes, and local compliance throughout the developer's time with your organization. 

Contact us to hire developers and gain access to a more diverse candidate pool.

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