Coleen Berob has spent most of her career in male work environments. Her conclusion so far: “We’ve made great progress in the past 25 years. But we still have a long way to go before there is real equality in the workplace, particularly in traditionally male-dominated occupations such as IT and technology.”
As CIO of US software maker Zendesk, Colin Beerup sees some changes in the US attitude towards diversity: “After the killing of George Floyd and given the above-average impact of the pandemic on black, Asian and Latin American communities in the USA, communities and businesses A clear stand against racism and inequality – including Zendesk.
Prior to the pandemic, more than 4,000 of our employees supported initiatives against homelessness, poverty and the segregation of the elderly; Since Covid-19 we have switched to virtual volunteering. In our global circles of empathy, we create a safe space to discuss gender and racial discrimination.
According to our latest Diversity Report, 38 percent of our workforce is female, and in an IT organization in particular it’s 28 percent, so we still have a way to go. That’s why we have top-down programs that ensure equal pay or promote diversity in our hiring and management processes. We encourage our employees to help create a culture in which everyone feels they belong. Employee communities play a crucial role here.
Two of them target women: Women at Zendesk targets women at all professional levels and works closely with HR to expand the pipeline to find qualified women for roles in the company. Female engineers at Women in Engineering can meet and build solidarity with each other across all offices.
It is also important to identify ways in which we can increase the representation of our underrepresented talents around the world. We want to encourage CEOs to consider a larger pool of candidates so that they don’t always meet people who are similar to them and have the same background. In order to have greater diversity in our positions, we have set ourselves a target that 50% of the candidates are from minorities.
We constantly review the diversity of our business at every level to understand how our efforts to create a fairer workplace are progressing – we don’t set quotas for promotions. We want to understand the root of every imbalance so we can make lasting changes to our culture rather than trying to create a short-term solution with quotas.
The path to greater diversity, equality and inclusion, particularly in leadership positions: Highlighting the potential of women’s leadership. Instead of introducing a quota system or waiting for a natural system to emerge on its own, we need to initiate change. Each of us must personally develop the talents in the team and set an example for ourselves. As leaders, we need to show ourselves and be a good role model to encourage and inspire others.”
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