How Dell is Addressing the Diversity Gap

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A cloud and the words: a great time to be in ITBy 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer science jobs available in the US according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We will need every type of worker to fill them. This is an opportunity and a challenge as the IT industry addresses a shrinking talent pool for both women and people of color.

Diversity within the IT industry has been a hot topic of discussion recently, with the likes of Google, Facebook and Yahoo! releasing their less-than-stellar workforce data along with publicly acknowledging that proactive steps need to be taken to address the diminishing pipeline as well as the gender gap. The gender gap in the tech sector is no secret. While women make up roughly half of the workforce, they make up 26% of the computing workforce.

At Dell, we have been focused on diversity for over a decade.  We believe diversity is a business imperative and recognize that a diverse workforce and supply chain are critical to exploring new ideas and creating innovation. Earlier this week, we released our FY14 Corporate Responsibility report, which is the first progress update against the goals we outlined last fall in our 2020 Legacy of Good plan. For the last three years, we’ve been transparent about our diversity data, our successes and our challenges. Our people are a key focus for our overall corporate responsibility strategy, and I wanted to take the time to share some of the ways Dell has been investing in diversity-management efforts, programs we have implemented to create an inclusive culture and progress to date.

  • Expanding our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)- At Dell, we have 10 ERGs with 139 chapters around the world. By joining an ERG, team members have the opportunity to meet and network with others for your personal development, participate in community events and see how diversity can be a differentiator and impact our business. Wise, a community of team members interested in accelerating the role of women in the workforce, now has over 6,000 unique members across 60+ global chapters.
  • Providing workplace flexibility– Dell’s Connected Workplace provides unique opportunities for team members to have mobility and flexibility in their work. Currently 20% of team members participate in the program and another 20% take advantage of the program’s resources informally. Our ongoing commitment to work-life flexibility for all team members earned us a spot on Working Mother’s top 100 U.S. companies for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Engaging men with diversity: Dell recently became first in the IT industry to implement the MARC Leaders pilot program. This is a six-month initiative of Men Advocating Real Change (MARC), Catalyst’s learning community for men committed to achieving gender equality in the workplace. We have 19 senior and emerging Dell leaders from US, EMEA and Latin America participating in the 6 month intensive program and we look forward to hearing what they learn and how they champion their experiences inside Dell.
  • Expanding the talent pool: Through our Youth Learning programs, we’re also investing in future generations of women particularly in the STEM subjects. Last year Dell reached over 500,000 children, 52 percent of whom were girls
  • Forming strategic partnerships: Our strategic partnerships help keep us connected and provide us with the latest research and insights on the topic of diversity. For example, we sponsor Catalyst, a leading nonprofit membership group expanding opportunities for women in business, a collaboration with the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation to provide business mentoring and technology solutions for women veterans and military spouses. We also work with the Anita Borg Institute whose mission is to increase the impact of women on all aspects of technology and increase the positive impact of technology on the world’s women.

In the video below, you’ll get just a glimpse into how our leaders around the globe approach diversity in the workplace.

We know that there’s much more work to be done, but we are committed and will continue to strive to ensure that women and minority team members, customers and suppliers around the world are given the tools they need to succeed in a global workforce.

About the Author: Dana Keefer

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