About 90 per cent of global businesses struggle with inclusion and diversity practices within their technology teams, while just 10 per cent implement it, according to a report released on Friday.
The report by the Capgemini Research Institute showed that only 16 per cent of women and ethnic-minority tech employees believe that they are well represented in tech teams. Only one in five employees is female, and one in six is from an ethnic-minority community in IT/tech teams.
Further, 85 per cent of leadership executives believe their organisations provide equitable opportunities for career development and promotions to every employee, but only 19 per cent of women and ethnic minority employees agree.
This misalignment adds to a perpetuating Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) problem across industries deploying technologies for end-users as leaders believe progress is being made, but tech employees on the ground remain pessimistic about the reality, the report said.
The spectrum of the perception gap is vast -- 75 per cent of leadership executives believe that women and ethnic minorities feel a sense of belonging in their organisations, but only 24 per cent of these employees in tech functions concur.
"In a world of increasing demand for tech-fuelled products and services that are free of discrimination and are inclusive by design, the importance of inclusive tech workforces, cultures and practices, is more important than ever. And yet, we see a wide gap not only in the state of inclusive representation in the tech workforce of organisations, but also in the perceptions of leaders versus women and ethnic minorities on the state of inclusion in tech," said Shobha Meera, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer and Group Executive Committee Member at Capgemini, in a statement.
"This report draws attention to the urgent need for organisations and leaders to embrace this reality and focus on improving diversity and inclusion in tech teams in a challenging talent environment," she added.
The report also showed that organisations with diverse and inclusive tech teams are four times more likely to create inclusive products.
Thus, it recommended organisations to build an effective inclusion strategy, beyond upping education and awareness at the highest levels. Organisations need to deploy various processes, policies and value systems that champion inclusion, it suggested.
For the report, Capgemini surveyed 500 organisations with one tech employee and one leadership respondent from each organisation, a total of 1,000 executive respondents. To capture the end-user perspective, Capgemini also surveyed 5,000 consumers.