While 85% of executives believe their organization provides equitable opportunities for career development and promotions, only 18% of women and ethnic minority tech employees agree, according to a Capgemini survey of 1,000 executive respondents released Friday.
Underrepresented employees don't feel included or well represented, either. A quarter (24%) of women and ethnic minority employees in tech functions feel a sense of belonging in their organization and even fewer, 16%, believe they are well represented.
"We see a wide gap not only in the state of inclusive representation in the tech workforce of organizations, but also in the perceptions of leaders versus women and ethnic minorities on the state of inclusion in tech," Shobha Meera, chief corporate social responsibility officer and group executive committee member at Capgemini, said about the report.
Tech leaders may think their workforce is growing more inclusive, but until employees agree, they'll have to work harder toward tangible diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
"Diversity is when you get invited to the party," said Aarti Shah, SVP and chief information and digital officer at Eli Lilly & Company, explained at an event in December. "But inclusiveness is when you actually get invited on the dance floor."
More than half (55%) of tech workers believe their employers could be doing more on DEI efforts, according to a .TECH Report surveying 550 tech workers. Sixty-five percent of women and non-white tech workers say they have experienced a form of bias in the workplace.
"The disruption from the pandemic and social injustices have raised employee expectations when it comes to DEI," said Rob O'Donohue, senior research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "CIOs have an enormous opportunity to use their position as a digital business leader to support marginalized groups and meet executive commitments with action."
Gartner recommends four actions CIOs can take to advance DEI efforts:
Challenge the existing thinking on DEI efforts by focusing on a shortlist of DEI priorities which IT can influence.
Develop partnerships with academia, nonprofits and other organizations that help accelerate technology careers for people in underrepresented communities
Identify tech inequalities in surrounding communities and leverage partnerships to address them by offering services, expertise or other resources.
Build inclusion within the IT community through outreach.
Investing in DEI can power innovation and digital transformation efforts, as employees from all backgrounds feel welcomed to share ideas and iterate.
"Your people and their ability to adopt new technologies and new ways of working allow organizations to thrive," Franklin Reed, executive director of inclusion and diversity at TEKsystems, said in a statement to CIO Dive in March. "Organizations with an inclusive environment are fundamentally going to be better at working through the change management challenges that come with digital transformation."
Systemic barriers are to blame for some of the challenges marginalized groups face in IT. CIOs can help organizations overcome those barriers by helping employees build professional networks and investing in workers' career development.