Building a More Representative Workforce

Earlier today, we proudly announced Dell Technologies’ ambitious social impact goals we’ll work to achieve by 2030. A critical aspect of the plan to advance progress, both within society and within our four walls, centers on cultivating inclusion:

  1. By 2030, 50% of our global workforce and 40% of our leaders will be women
    • Current state is 30.4% overall and 23.4% of leaders.
  2. By 2030, 25% of our U.S. workforce and 15% of our leaders will be black/African American and Hispanic/Latino minorities
    • Current state is 12.6% overall and 9.1% of leaders.
  3. Each year through 2030, 90% of our employees will rate their job as meaningful
  4. By 2030, 50% of our employees will participate in employee resource groups
  5. Each year through 2030, 75% of our employees will believe their leader is inspiring
  6. By 2030, 95% of our employees will participate in annual foundational learning on topics such as unconscious bias, harassment, microaggression and privilege
  7. Each year through 2030, 50% of the people empowered by our social and education initiatives will be girls, women or underrepresented groups

Let me give you more context around why we set these goals, specifically the two focused on having a workforce that better represents the communities and customers we serve.

We can’t afford to overlook exceptional talent. In the long term a homogenous talent pool means a labor shortage. In the short term a homogenous workforce means lost profits. Both are bad for business. The data doesn’t lie:

In the U.S. by 2024, there will be 1.1 million computing-related job openings, yet less than half could be filled based on current graduation rates. At a global scale, there is a tech talent shortage of 4.3 million expected by 2030. There are two ways to handle these daunting projections – panic or think outside the box about solutions. We choose the latter. The U.S. has approximately 330 million people, and the world, 7.7 billion.  The women and underrepresented minorities that have largely been excluded from the tech industry to-date, either by choice or through systemic bias, are the answer to this labor shortage.

And once we have these women and underrepresented minorities in our workforce the gains are incredible. McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 21% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. When assessing the benefits of ethnic diversity, that likelihood jumps to 33%. This increased profitability stems from stronger relationships with an increasingly diverse customer base. Diverse perspectives driving more innovation is also a factor.

By putting a measurable goal around this priority, we hold ourselves accountable. It’s that, “What gets measured gets done,” mindset.

How are we going to achieve these goals?
Not by standing still. That’s for sure.

We must build a diverse workforce, bring in the talent and then focus on retention to meet our goals.

We have a partnership with Girls Who Code. This nonprofit inspires young women to pursue programming and other technology career paths. The girls learn to code things like websites and apps. They also have the opportunity to visit local tech companies to meet women in the industry.

With outstanding organizations like Girls Who Code building a pipeline of diverse talent, the onus is on us, the tech companies, to be prepared to embrace that talent. The track record to-date is not a pretty picture. Half of college-aged women report a negative experience when applying for a job in tech. Dell Technologies invests in manager training and requires diverse hiring panels to ensure any personal biases that may exist do not impact hiring decisions.

Once hired, programs like our Diversity Leadership Accelerator Program (DLAP) provide high-performing individuals with equal opportunity to advance. By setting a structure for coaching and sponsorship, we leave less to chance and personal relationships that are often built on shared experiences. That connection around similarities too often leads to homogeneity, especially at senior levels. Data-driven hiring and succession plans help us avoid this pitfall.

These are just a few of the initiatives we have in place to help move the needle on diversity. I encourage you to learn about more about the programmatic groundwork that we’ve laid in our recent diversity & inclusion report.

All of our initiatives have one thing in common, they’re focused on broadening our talent pool. Meaning that ideally for every opportunity, at every level, we have a diverse set of candidates to choose from. This broadening will break down barriers and mitigate the systemic bias that has plagued society and companies for too long.

Let’s Get Started
With 10 years, 1 month and 18 days left, the clock is ticking and we’re already taking steps to reach our goals. That said, don’t expect any drastic changes or attempts at “silver bullet” solutions. Change of this magnitude requires a focus on incremental gains over a long period of time.

Beyond the initiatives already in place, we know the power of technology will be key to achieving these goals. There is incredible opportunity to use things like AI and VR to level the playing field.

We look forward to broadening our minds and broadening our talent pool over the next decade to find the best candidate for the job regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or background.

As a company that’s so committed to keeping our say vs. do ratio in-check that we completed or exceeded over 75% of our 2020 social impact goals ahead of schedule, these goals are challenging but achievable.

Stay tuned as we continue to report our progress annually leading up to 2030. Let’s do this!

About the Author: Brian Reaves

Brian Reaves was previously the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of Dell, responsible for Dell’s global diversity and inclusion initiatives.