Book a demo

Why is diversity important?

Most people would agree that diversity and inclusion in the workplace is important but actually being able to achieve diversity and inclusion in practice has turned out to be more difficult than anticipated.

I remember when it used to be a struggle to convince software engineers and upper management that diversity and inclusion was a goal worth pursuing. Those days are long gone.

Today, companies need to evaluate their own processes when hiring developers in order to identify important factors that may ultimately improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace starting with diversity recruiting.

So, why “is” diversity important?

There are many benefits of diversity in the workplace. Diverse groups bring richer, more unique perspectives to a business scenario. When people with different personalities and experiences are brought together, there’s more opportunity to foster creativity and devise a comprehensive solution.

I’ve seen this a lot in planning meetings where software engineers and product managers have to work together to decide on features critical to the product roadmap. The benefits of diversity in the workplace is simply that the outcome of the meeting and end solution is better when you have a diverse team working on it.

A diverse team dynamic can also:

  • Change group spirit for the better. Female software engineers tend to offer a more people-oriented approach and positive mood which can influence the outcome.
  • Create synergy. Having your top five software engineers on a team doesn’t always translate into high performance. What looks good on paper can fall apart in practice if soft skills are lacking.
  • Amplify diversity recruiting. For many candidates in the market, working with a diverse team is a necessary perk. I’ve seen this when hiring developers — people look for diverse teams.

So, as you can see, there are many benefits of diversity in the workplace.

The research team at Codility ran an analysis of our own platform for hiring developers — here are some takeaways that really stuck with me and helped me answer the question, “why is diversity important?”

When hiring developers, recruiters tend to invite more males to take the Codility test, which impacts the performance gap.

The following bar chart shows that the highest proportion of females invited to take a Codility test by recruiters was at 58%. The lowest proportion of females invited by a company to take a Codility test was at 2%. This means that women have lower statistical chances of making it to later stages of recruitment.

Percentage of female candidates invited by Codility tests by company
Why is diversity important? Because it fuels innovation.

Look for less obvious factors that might impact your hiring process. For example, female recruiters are more likely to invite female software engineers to take the test.Behavioral differences between male and female recruiters who create the coding online test influences the level of difficulty, and thus the outcome. Males tend to create much harder coding online tests. The more difficult the coding online test, the more visible the discrepancy in performance becomes.We also found that female developers are more likely to go back and double-check their work. This takes time, adds stress, and impacts overall performance.

Diversity and inclusion matters

It’s great that we better understand the importance of diversity and inclusion, but I want to challenge you to ask yourself, why is diversity important? What are the benefits of diversity in the workplace, and what are you currently doing to progress your company’s diversification efforts?

  • Start by looking into your own hiring tools, platforms, and processes. Assess how each tool contributes to diversity and inclusion at every stage of the hiring process. Is there any bias being added to the way you source candidates?
  • Don’t waste your time trying to fix things half-way. Incorporate diversity recruiting initiatives at an early-stage — do you have both female and male recruiters inviting candidates to take coding online tests?

Our Gender Bias Report offers more insights into how companies can run tech recruiting processes to support a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

DISCLAIMER: Nonbinary candidates are not accounted for because of the way we identified gender. We analyzed first and last names of each candidate, and assigned gender based on this data. We’re constantly looking for methods to broaden our research without compromising candidate test experience.

Download Report