By Santiago Iniguez, President IE University
“We can’t innovate without being diverse and inclusive”,[i] explained Denise Young Smith, Apple’s Worldwide Human Resources president, when the company announced it was to invest $50 million in not-for-profit organizations that promote the integration of women, minorities and older people into the technology sector. The news came out the same week Apple unveiled its smart watch, and is just one of many such initiatives some Silicon Valley companies are undertaking to increase diversity, particularly in terms of hiring more women.
Using data on the number of women and minorities employed by tech companies at all levels, in early 2015 Fortune magazine [ii] compiled a list ranking LinkedIn, Apple, and EBay in the first three positions respectively, followed by Cisco, Hewlett Packard, and Microsoft at the bottom in 12th, 13th, and 14th places. As was reported widely when the survey was published, the majority of people working in the tech sector are still white American and Asian males.
The same picture emerges in many other sectors where innovation is also a key factor in generating value. For example: women make up the majority in education overall, but in the tertiary sector, and particularly the upper echelons of universities, diversity falls off rapidly.