Techleap survey shows perception gap in diversity among tech workers

24/11/2023
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Two thirds of all tech employees consider diversity important, but 65 per cent see little concrete evidence of this in their organisation
Three-quarters claim equality in the organisation; yet half of employees with a migration background say they are not treated equally
Third of employees with a migration background find discrimination in the tech sector a major problem, Techleap is researching this subjet.

  • The perception gap in the Dutch tech industry persists: Dutch tech employees are divided on the subject of diversity, equality and inclusion. This is according to the State of Inclusion in Dutch Tech survey, conducted by Diverse Leaders in Tech (an initiative of Techleap). According to the survey presented at the DEI in Tech Summit, the Dutch tech sector is generally positive about diversity in the workplace. However, the urgency to make real progress in addressing inequality is lacking.

Techleap argues that two crucial steps are needed to close the perception gap. On the one hand, there needs to be greater awareness of how diversity directly contributes to business success. Secondly, it is important to better understand how inclusion in the tech sector is actually experienced by different groups.

Tech sector sees benefits, but resistance grows as initiatives become concrete
Many Dutch tech employees recognise the importance of diversity and inclusion. Two thirds (66%) think it is important that active steps are taken in their organisation. This is not only from social considerations (50%), 62% believe it contributes to a positive image and outreach to diverse target groups.

So while many tech workers recognise the importance, it is notable that resistance and criticism are increasing as initiatives become more concrete. Many respondents argue that the issue is being exaggerated and do not see much point in setting targets and responsibilities.

"The gap between how we communicate diversity outwardly and what we see in reality is a wake-up call for the entire industry," explains Ingrid Tappin, Director Diverse Leaders in Tech at Techleap. "Even if you look at the current election discussions, you can see that issues like diversity and equal opportunities are under a huge magnifying glass. We need to be aware that we need the best talent, and therefore accelerate on this very issue. This is how we help people get ahead and we can allow the Netherlands to grow."

Men find importance of diversity exaggerated
Almost half of men (47%) think the importance of diversity in the workplace is exaggerated, compared to a quarter (24%) of women. Moreover, a third of men (34%) do not see the added value, while 9 in 10 women (86%) do believe that diversity, equality and inclusion are important for business success.

Although three quarters (77%) of tech employees believe everyone gets equal opportunities, and more than two thirds (71%) are satisfied with how inequality is addressed, this is not always perceived that way by other groups. Over a third (35%) of employees from migrant backgrounds cite discrimination as a major problem in the tech industry, and 45% say they are not treated equally.

"There is an inclusion perception gap that we cannot ignore," Tappin argues. "Organisations need to take this signal seriously and invest in education and understanding around the value of diversity and inclusion. By making these aspects measurable, you can leverage diversity as a catalyst for business success and create an equal environment for all employees."

Young employees believe in diverse leadership, but knowledge is lacking
Less than half of respondents (49%) believe that a diverse management team is important for the company. Young people (Gen Y and Z) are more likely to recognise the importance of role models, with 61% naming the added value of diverse leadership. Only 2 in 5 (39%) of employees over 44 see the importance of diversity at the top.

Tech employees are not familiar with initiatives that seek to improve diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace. As many as two-thirds (65%) cannot name concrete actions being taken within their organisation. Furthermore, 60% believe that additional investments to boost diversity are not necessary and only a quarter (27%) see the value of quotas to help their company become a better reflection of society.

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