Microsoft Leads in Bringing More Colour to Tech

The word of the decade: Diversity.

Everywhere you go, no matter where you go, the demand for more diversity and an end to discrimination is sure to follow you. People calling for makeup brands to release a wider range of foundations for darker skin tones, surveys to include more genders in their scroll down menus, and universities to offer more scholarships to the less fortunate. One place that’s especially feeling the heat are employers, particularly in tech.

While it’s unlikely the industry purposely excludes women or People of Colour (POC), unfortunately, reality is much more complicated.

Only 5% of fortune 500 company CEO’s are women and 95% of the tech workforce is white. This imbalance is now impossible to ignore. With all genders and races now free to study and pursue whatever path they want, regardless of what they look like, this statistic should be improving much faster than it actually is.

Every now and then arguments based on natural or genetic differences crop up, but they are long outdated, and will likely earn you a rolled eye. We know we shouldn’t be hiring people simply because of their skin colour or their gender - only your qualifications and if your skills match the job should be what count. Luckily there are now many people out there who are prioritising leveling the gender field in the workplace, and trying to address the hidden causes behind why we’re not making progress faster.

Looking at the data is the first step

It is 100% illegal to discriminate against anyone based on their skin colour, gender, religion or sexual orientation. So why are the percentages so skewed? Well, let’s take a look at something as simple as a name. Studies all over the world from here in Australia to those in Canada have found that “foreign-sounding” names routinely are passed over more than western ones. In the States, studies have shown that “white” sounding names receive 50% more callbacks for interviews, even with identical credentials.

A large-scale field experiment done in Australia used distinctly Anglo-Saxon, Indigenous, Italian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern names to apply for entry-level jobs, all with the same education level. The study found that minority groups had to apply to more jobs to receive the same amount of interviews; none of these employers might be outright racists, but subconcious profiling still has widespread effects.

Discrimination hurts us all - especially our wallets

There are so many more issues out there, why should we prioritize this one?

Well, not only is it our moral responsibility, but promoting diversity also promotes better business outcomes and profits.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology ran a study with 2,360 Corporations and discovered that executive boards with women outperform those with an all-male cast. Gender-diverse management teams had superior returns on equity, debt/equity ratios, price/equity ratios, and average growth. Researchers also found that innovation was more likely to come out of a more diverse knowledge base of multiple perspectives and backgrounds. While everyone is special in their own way, there are certain experiences that only particular communities have, and the ideas that they provide can prove to be invaluable.

Obviously, there is more to diversity than just wanting better numbers and bragging rights. We here at Zuper have a team of multiple cultures and genders, and not only are we immensely proud, we have also found that our company is constantly coming up with fresh ideas, pushing out only the best of the best, and sprinting to become the super fund that truly has young Australians best interests at heart.

We think that our differences are what truly makes us shine so much, so this is why we are learn about how big companies like Microsoft are also striving for a more colorful and diverse future.

Microsoft teams up with Girls Code

Microsoft has put $250,000 USD into a partnership with Black Girls Code, an Oakland Organization that is dedicated to giving computer science education to African American girls.

The CEO of Black Girls Code, Kimberly Bryant, had actually turned down a $125,000 USD partnership from Uber the previous year, when Uber was coming under fire for sexual harassment allegations. Black Girls Code has a strong moral compass to only partnering with companies that puts their money where their mouth is, and Microsoft didn’t sway.

More than 8,700 girls are a part of this program, and Bryant hopes that this partnership will aid in opening new chapters of their organization and providing future career options for the girls.

Microsoft has always pushed diversity in their workplace, offering resource groups for minorities and LGBT communities as well as 40 different employee networks for everyone ranging from those with disabilities to veterans. They have a very transparent breakdown of their employee demographics, and continually push for more women, celebrating minorities, and equal pay. Microsoft is one of the companies your money powers when you join Zuper Super.

This article is general in nature, and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider if the information is appropriate and whether you need to speak to an accredited professional.

Han Ju Seo

3rd year Uni student from the States trying to figure out her place in the world. Deeply passionate about social impact, education, and fluffy dogs.

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