Diversity brings a competitive advantage

May 19, 2016

Women must leverage the new demand for gender diversity, says Yasmine Finbow, Director of the Women in Tech. conference.

Experts increasingly cite diverse thinking as key to securing long-term organisational success. McKinsey and Company‘s 2015 Diversity Matters report found that across the Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom and the USA, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. But with women comprising a mere 20% of the Australian technology sector, a lack of gender diversity is threatening the competitive advantage of Australian organisations.

Enterprises have long preached the importance of gender diversity. But were their efforts genuine? Or could they have been a strategic guise to project false integrity across an expectant market? There were certainly individuals championing female progression. But the movement was not perceived as integral to success, and so did not become a key priority for most organisations beyond façade – until now.

Times are changing, and innovating to sustain a competitive advantage is now crucial for an enterprise’s survival. With diverse thinking increasingly perceived as a tool to cultivate innovation effectively and inexpensively – why wouldn’t organisations sincerely support female progression within the workplace? After all, it translates into business benefit.

With a more prevalent understanding that female input is essential for a prosperous future, impassive words are finally being put into action. Organisations are now examining approaches to support and progress women within the workplace, and to encourage women to consider a STEM pathway.

Unfortunately, changing business priorities do not always equate to a sudden change in mindset across an entire organisation. Yet with leadership and business strategy genuinely backing female advancement, an unprecedented opportunity presents itself for women – and should be leveraged.

These issues form some of the key themes at the 2016 Women in Tech. conference, which is bring together a group of amazing women and men to address problems in the sector and help all in attendance build their skills and careers. Click here for more information about Women in Tech.

– Yasmine Finbow

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