The umbrella of workforce solutions is a big one. It’s encompassing of staffing, sourcing, payroll and compliance, benefits, statement of work, and so much more. But is your workforce solutions provider talking to you about your diversity initiative? They should be, and here’s why.
The tech skills gap remains a yawning divide. And despite the increase in awareness around the need, the number of open jobs continues to outpace graduation rates of students with computer science and related degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for tech professionals has grown at a rate 8 times faster than all other professions in the past decade.
What many companies don’t realize, however, is that a specialized degree does not automatically make someone a good technologist. Many of today’s top tech professionals are self-taught. In fact, in the results of a poll to our vast client network, the top indicator hiring managers used in determining what makes a great developer (as just one example within IT), is not whether they have a degree or even a particular certification. It is simply whether a person codes in their spare time for fun.
We can’t talk about the talent shortage without also talking about the imbalance of different genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds within the field of Information Technology. Women and minorities make up less than 10% of the IT workforce. Either due to a lack of encouragement toward the field or because of high barriers to entry (the cost associated with a 4-year degree is out of reach for many), a lack of diversity in the field is a hurdle we at TriCom are acutely aware of.
If your workforce solutions provider isn’t talking to you about your diversity initiative, you probably haven’t enlisted the right workforce solutions provider. Diversity is not simply a hiring solution, it’s an innovation solution. Numerous studies have concluded that diverse companies and teams experience higher overall performance and greater innovation.
But in a field where 60% of graduates identify as white or Asian males, how do you bridge the diversity gap while hiring qualified people for your open roles?
Our answer? Train them.
Building a More Diverse and Inclusive Workforce with DiverseIT
One of TriCom’s big wins in 2020 was the launch of our DiverseIT Initiative – a program aiming to help build a more diverse and inclusive IT workforce. Within this program, we spend roughly 14 weeks assessing and training talent, place them on a year-long contract, and then support them through mentorship, technical resources, and ongoing training.
For us, the ongoing training and resources are critical. We want these placements to be successful, both for the good of our consultants as well as our clients. Diversity programs fail when female employees or employees of color don’t rise through the ranks as quickly as their white male counterparts. We partner closely with our hiring managers to avoid any potential biases in this, and with our consultants so that they continue to have the support they need to perform at a high level.
One avenue of continued support is through mentorship. Studies have shown that when people have a model for success who shares their cultural or gender identity, someone who they can closely relate to, they themselves are more likely to succeed. We can’t always control that within an organization, but we can provide a support network to our teams through DiverseIT.
Helping Talent Re-Skill in a Growing Industry with Skilled KC
Our managing director, Matt Sharples, sits on the board of directors at Skilled KC, an organization that partners with the local Kansas City community to advise, train, and open doors for students to a better career path, while prioritizing diverse talent. When you think about the financial commitment of a 4-year degree, between the actual tuition costs and the wages lost to class and study time across those four years, it’s no wonder that for many, an advanced degree is not and cannot be a consideration.
That’s one of the reasons Skilled KC offers accelerated courses. Many can be completed in just five months, so that students can progress quickly and launch their careers faster with little to no tuition costs (in fact, for many students, the cost is free). Training programs are focused around three core areas, including Software Development, helping them reskill into high demand and growing industries.
For too long the IT industry has neglected to accurately represent the world we all live in; a world that is abounding with hard working and intelligent people from a myriad of different backgrounds. There are reasons to be hopeful that this is changing, but we won’t get there unless everyone takes a proactive approach toward diversity and inclusion. And for organizations needing a business case for diversifying beyond the common good: a more diverse workforce has proven to be a more innovative workforce, and your organization can’t afford to be left behind.