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Woman in IT: Laura Malins on why diversity and inclusion at workplace is the most important now

Laura Malins on Diversity

Currently, over 2.5 lakh employees are likely to have lost their jobs in the layoffs to date.

According to Google, 20,000 employees were laid off in January due to performance issues. In the same month, Amazon announced plans to cut 18,000 jobs worldwide. In the first month of 2023, Microsoft fired thousands of employees. Following these companies, Dell announced the layoff of more than 6,000 employees.

Also, a recent report by Atomico shared some data suggesting that Europe’s diversity is declining, that people from diverse backgrounds face a harder battle, and that more investment has not resulted in greater diversity.

As a result of the layoffs by tech giants, diversity and inclusion jobs are especially hard hit. During financial hardships, companies may prioritise retaining revenue-generating employees and view diversity and inclusion positions as less important. In spite of this, prioritising diversity and inclusion is more important now than ever.

Companies with a diverse and inclusive workforce are more innovative, have higher financial performance, and are better able to attract and retain top talent. Employers who respect all their team members’ needs, perspectives, and potential are more successful than their competitors. Therefore, diverse and inclusive workplaces earn their employees’ trust and commitment.

Matillion, an integration and data transformation company based in the UK can integrate, load, and transform data for warehousing, data lakes, and big data initiatives. TFN recently, got an opportunity to to talk to Laura Malins, VP of Product at the Manchester-based data productivity company. As a woman in the IT industry, Malins shares five reasons why diversity and inclusion are critical to business success. Additionally, she discusses her career challenges.

Talent should be appreciated from anyone

“For starters, diversity is undoubtedly the right thing to do on moral grounds. No one should be discriminated against because they don’t fit ‘the norm’. That’s an absolute non-negotiable. Everyone should be able to bring their authentic self to the workplace, whatever their identity may be, and be made to feel comfortable.”

Diverse firms take faster and more informed decisions

“It’s also the smart thing to do from a business perspective, for several reasons. Teams perform better when they are diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, race, age, neurodiversity and so much more. And there are numbers to prove it: research conducted by Cloverpop shows inclusive decision-making results in decisions being made twice as fast, with half the number of meetings required to do so. Business decisions are more informed 87% of the time, too.”

Creativity at its peak

“Diversity and inclusion can inspire creativity, which is good for business. Collaborating with people from different backgrounds and with life experiences promotes outside-the-box thinking, and encourages individuals to challenge each other in ways that bring the most out of each other. It’s harder to generate and bounce novel ideas between one another in smaller, homogeneous groups. Research by McKinsey found that the most creative companies do much better financially, with over 65% above-average organic revenue growth. Creativity also impacts award-winning across sectors: the survey found that 69% of creative businesses reported gaining national recognition or winning awards, compared to only 27% of less creative companies.”

Employees prefer diverse workplace

“Recruitment is often a numbers game. The bigger the talent pool, the easier it is to attract and retain high-skilled talent. There’s also the talent attraction element too; a Glassdoor survey from September 2020 suggests three-quarters of prospective employees consider a diverse workforce as an important factor “when evaluating companies and job offers.”

Encouragement for women talent is still a long way to go

“There’s still a long road ahead to support and encourage female technologists. Evidence suggests that men apply to more jobs than women because they are more comfortable applying for a role if they don’t meet the criteria, whereas women only apply when they are a perfect fit. All of which hampers women’s career prospects and reduces the talent pool business have access to. So we shouldn’t forget that building a stronger platform for women in STEM benefits businesses, and not just women. Creating a wider talent pool with more candidates who are a potentially strong fit just makes sense.”

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