DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., March 8, 2023 – True advancement in diversity, equity and inclusion in the technology industry requires a greater commitment to the cause by individuals and organizations, according to three executives associated with CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the information technology (IT) industry and workforce.
On International Women’s Day 2023 and its theme of #EmbraceEquity, Tracy Pound, chair of the CompTIA Board of Directors; Tracey Welson-Rossman, founder of the nonprofits TechGirlz and Women in Technology Summit; and CompTIA executives Jennifer Browning, chief people officer, and Nancy Hammervik, chief solutions officer,, shared their viewpoints on the current state of equity in the industry, along with actions to expand inclusion.
“As a woman in tech, I’ve had many men over the years say they don’t think it’s ‘fair’ that women should be given a different opportunity to advance, get promoted or recognized,” said Pound, founder and managing director of MaximITy, IT training, consultancy and project management firm in Tamworth, England. “Minority groups need that helping hand precisely because they don’t yet have an equal voice. They need the support to feel included and valued to shine, whether that’s based on gender, ethnicity, beliefs, disabilities, or any other potential points of bias.”
“Embracing equity begins with the mindset of impact over intent,” Browning said. “Only those organizations that move beyond policies and training with their authentic commitment to tangible outcomes with be the trailblazers for equity.”
“Everyone in the organization needs to be aligned with – and invested in – an organization’s DEI strategy and practices,” said Hammervik. “Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also improves greatly the company’s overall productivity, innovation, market perspective and favorable reputation.”
“Equity and inclusion have been part of the conversation in the tech industry for almost 20 years,” said Welson-Rossman, founding member and chief marketing officer at Chariot Solutions, a leading Philadelphia area enterprise application and mobile development consulting firm. “It took a bit to admit that there was a problem, and while progress had been made, we are still not where we need to be.”
Welson-Rossman believes a bold “moon shot” plan is needed to expand the number of women and underrepresented people working in tech. This includes increasing money and support for K-12 STEM curriculum; providing support for these groups in college or other non-college programs; and increasing the number of companies recruiting at these colleges, not just large organizations.
“But it requires more than that,” she continued. “It requires changing the culture to continue to accept underrepresented groups are part of this industry, make sure there are child-care resources, and make every effort to keep these people in the workforce. We have to for our economy to grow and thrive.”
“Women, people of color, and other diverse populations, still struggle to advance to senior leadership positions, and many diverse employees abandon or change jobs mid-career due to lack of feeling included,” Hammervik added. “Employers cannot just talk the talk. They must walk the walk and hold themselves and staff accountable for practicing DEI concepts every day, in every workplace activity, from hiring to building leadership teams.”
“At CompTIA, inclusion is the first step to equity and can pave the way for new ideas and innovation,” Browning said. “We support it through our culture committee and Employee Resource Groups, including our Women of CompTIA ERG. These groups are empowered and funded to create an impact through their elevated voices and actions that shine a light on the importance of equity and create real opportunities for growth and advancement.”
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for the $5 trillion global information technology ecosystem; and the estimated 75 million industry and tech professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the world’s economy. Through education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research, CompTIA is the hub for unlocking the potential of the tech industry and its workforce. https://www.comptia.org/