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How COVID19 May Exacerbate Inequalities in Tech

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed that many Tech companies have been using the furlough scheme to navigate the COVID19 crisis, leaving hundreds of Tech workers technically without a job. Some Tech companies are discussing restructuring. Research shows that workers at risk of losing their jobs include mostly those coming from underrepresented groups, those with less access to healthcare, less access to a support system and less likely to find another job. Women and men of colour, working parents and workers without education are amongst those most at risk of losing their jobs.

I believe that now more than ever, Tech companies should put diversity and inclusion at the top of their business priorities. If the Tech industry is not careful, the COVID19 crisis will further exacerbate the existing lack of diversity and inclusion in the industry. By focusing on financial results only and not on the culture, Tech organisations may take the path of perpetuating and even exacerbating the existing lack of diversity where privileged workers will continue to access privileged positions and underrepresented groups and minorities, with have even less access to jobs, healthcare and support systems.

Tech organisations should prioritise diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives in order to increase a sense of belonging, protect their more vulnerable workers who come from those underrepresented groups which will ultimately benefit the financial results because as many surveys demonstrate, teams that operate in an inclusive culture outperform their peers by a staggering 80 percent.

The bottom line is that diversity must remain firmly on the agenda for the sake of our communities as well as our businesses.

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