Mala Kumar published an article in TechCrunch about the lack of diversity in the tech industry and the challenge women face when being considered for a position. After reading the article, I reached out to her for an interview. Mala is an international development/ICT4D practitioner who has worked with several agencies of the United Nations.
During out discussion she talked about the fact that this industry, that is still dominated by white men, may talk about the value of diversity but when it comes to taking action often their decisions are influenced by an unrealistic fear that women are coming to take their place.
That simply isn’t true. “We aren’t coming to take your jobs.” No – we want to work WITH you.
The movement to increase the number of women and candidates from more diverse backgrounds isn’t meant as a hostile action but rather an important initiative designed to improve the overall success of tech companies.
Currently male leaders need to stop looking for the illusive “purple unicorn” and begin expanding their recruitment horizons to understand how skills can be altered and transferred to meet their hiring needs.
“If the tech industry is serious about building a sustainable and resilient workforce beyond the white males of the world, there is a lot of investment and work that needs to be done.” Mala Kumar
In the LinkedIn article Beware of the Purple Unicorn (with Wings) When Hiring by Kenneth Chestnut, we see a great example of what a job description for a purple unicorn might look like:
- Hands on and willing to roll up sleeves
- Previous experience managing 20+ person team
- Strategic thinker
- Expert with Marketo, lead nurturing, and content marketing
- Great public speaker
- Intimate knowledge of SEO and A/B testing
- Comfortable executing guerrilla marketing campaigns
- Able to manage multi-million dollar marketing budget
- B2C and B2B experience
In this case, Human Resources is looking for a needle in a haystack – the cake and ice cream with a side of pie. Creating such a detailed and rigid list of requirements will naturally eliminate the possibility of finding a more diverse candidate that could bring even better perspective and skills to the position.
As Mala says – we need to stop talking about building a more diverse team and start taking action to make it happen. I invite you to read her article at TechCrunch, Diversity in Tech Need Less Buzz and More Action and watch our interview below.
JJ DiGeronimo, a speaker, author and thought-leader for Women in Tech and Girls and STEM, empowers professional women and consults with senior executives on strategies to retain and attract Women in Technology to increase thought and leadership diversity within organizations.
Check out JJ’s new award winning book Accelerate Your Impact by downloading three free chapters.