This week, the Mass Technology Leadership Council kicked off the Tech Compact for Social Justice with 60+ leading tech companies making over 180 commitments in their organizations to affect change. In Massachusetts, only 5% of tech occupation workers are African or African/American and 7% are Hispanic or Latino. According to the Boston Globe, “the tech workforce is predominantly white and male.” OPEXEngine proudly supports the initiative and signed the compact to take action. We have been benchmarking male/female ratios in software & SaaS companies for several years now, and plan to look at how to better benchmark tech company diversity.
When I founded OPEXEngine almost 15 years ago, it was in part to level the playing field in management decision-making. With reliable benchmarking in hand, tech management teams could make data-driven business decisions that were right for their company and stage. It wouldn’t matter if the person guiding the discussion was white, black, male, female, soft-spoken or had a foreign accent. If the discussion is backed by data, it levels the playing field for everyone making contributions to the best decision for the company.
We’ve come a long way in 15 years, and every company has better data available to them than 15 or 20 years ago. But how you interpret the data is critical to the success of a company. And funny enough, if everyone around the table looks the same, they tend to interpret the data thru the same lens.
Research shows that diversity is proven to improve business outcomes. A Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation. This finding is significant for tech companies, start-ups and industries where innovation is the key to growth. There is an abundance of data showing that more women in C-Suites and on boards is correlated with higher profitability and that data has been consistent for years.
To change the world, we need to be open to change
None of us expected COVID and the rapid changes to businesses, markets and our way of interacting when we were planning 2020, all the way back in January. Most of the software and SaaS companies that we talk to today are already moving from reacting to figuring out how to be proactive. We all hope to come through this experience in a better place.
I hope that as companies gear up for FY 2021 planning, they include improving diversity as an important way to reduce risk and improve performance in the upcoming years. We want this seismic change in the world today to make our companies more resilient and nimble.
Diversity of experience and perspective improves our ability to react to unexpected change and helps us innovate through and beyond it. I support Mass TLC’s initiative to drive companies to make these diversity and social justice changes. It is good for business, good for our communities, and the right thing to do.