September 18, 2023

Report Reveals 3 In 5 Businesses Struggle to Retain Diverse Talent

Diversity In Tech

The 2023 Diversity in Tech Report found that 59% of businesses surveyed are struggling to retain their diverse tech talent.

According to the report, as levels of income inequality reach new highs, the tech sector’s diversity dilemma puts it under added pressure to discover new ways of introducing more Gen Z professionals.

Wiley Edge, an emerging talent and reskill training partner for public and private organizations across the globe, shared the results of their 2023 Diversity in Tech Report.

The company conducted a detailed survey of senior IT decision-makers and 21-25-year-olds working within a range of US enterprises to gain a deeper insight into how the tech sector is confronting these diversity challenges. 

What were the key findings?

Nearly 3 in 5 (59%) businesses reported struggling to keep diverse tech staff, and 86% believed their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy needed to be revised.

However, 7 in 10 (69%) Gen Z tech workers reported feeling uncomfortable in their role, with a quarter (24%) relating it to their ethnicity. 

The reasons identified by Gen Z tech workers feeling this discomfort varied, with 20% stating it was due to a lack of diversity in their team or department and 22% saying they were in unwelcoming company culture. 

For 3 in 10 (28%) respondents, the lack of belonging and unwelcoming culture was due to aggressions and microaggressions from their colleagues.

“While it is encouraging to see that the majority of businesses are taking steps to minimise their diversity shortcomings, it’s clear that greater education is needed to reduce misconceptions about what diverse employees expect from their working environment,” said Becs Roycroft, Vice-President of global emerging talent and client operations at  Wiley Edge.

“It is essential that companies adopt anti-bias hiring strategies, diversity and inclusion training for all members of staff, and source employees from underrepresented groups to increase workplace inclusivity.”

Regarding business and staff, 13% of the firms interviewed said they were aware that diversity is something they need to work on, but they don’t know how to fix it.

Additionally, 40% of firms said they lack gender diversity in their tech teams, 41% said they lack ethnic diversity, and 21% said although they are aware they are lacking, they have no plans to fix the issues.

The increase in remote working appeared to benefit diverse workers, as 78% of businesses claimed that increasing the number of remote roles has led to greater gender diversity among candidates.

Nearly half (44%) said it had led to greater ethnic diversity, and 43% of Gen Z tech workers said remote work made them more comfortable outside of an in-person office setting. 

DEI Initiatives and the economic climate

The report found that the current economic climate threatens DEI initiatives, as more than half of the firms admitted costs and uncertainty are slowing these initiatives. 

This has, therefore, put a pause on tech recruitment and put remote working roles at risk of redundancies. 

Roles for DEI first increased during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, with tech companies, in particular, pledging to boost their diversity efforts.

However, the number of companies without DEI programs has increased from 15% in 2020 to 20% in 2022, with an overall 18% decrease in leaders’ endorsement of their company’s overall DEI effects.

It was also reported that women and minority leaders are significantly more likely to leave their companies to advance in the workplace and are especially susceptible to burnout caused by professional anxieties. 

“Upscaling DEI strategies should never be viewed as a box-ticking exercise,” said Roycroft.

“Effective policies have a direct link with employee retention, and failing to implement policies that align with employees’ values risks losing the innovation, creativity and efficiency that a diverse workplace encourages.”

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.