IWD 2023: Promoting diversity in the data analytics workforce
Diversity in data analytics is important for businesses that want to succeed in today's distinct and digitally inclined world. The technology industry is growing at a fast pace, and keeping that in mind, it is increasingly important that all businesses should be represented by a gender-diverse workforce.
The growing landscape of the data science and analytics market creates an intrinsic need for technology organisations to adopt data-driven culture powered by teamwork and diversity, presenting an opportunity for women and other demographics traditionally diminished in the technology workforce to fast-track their careers by embracing analytic roles.
A 2022 study revealed that women make up only 38% of the workforce in large global tech firms, leading many leaders to ask how to break this obstacle in gender equality.
A diverse workforce in data analytics can lead to a wider range of perspectives and ideas, ultimately leading to better decision-making, problem-solving, and innovation. This is particularly important in data analytics, where seeing and interpreting data from different angles can be crucial in making accurate predictions and identifying trends.
Alteryx introduced "Alter.Us," the company's diversity, equity, and inclusion council in 2019, aimed at promoting a comprehensive range of employees across its leadership and associates, including race, gender, religion, country of origin, education, cognitive thinking, experience, and background. Diversity has been an increasingly key pillar of the company's culture for the past several years and is a critical factor in driving global growth and business success.
Adopting educational programs
One of the reasons I joined Alteryx was because their 'analytics for all' mantra echoed my professional beliefs. Retrieving and understanding data is very powerful, no matter your role. Alteryx does an excellent job supporting that principle through SparkED, its no-cost analytics education program.
SparkED is now offered in more than 970 educational institutions around the world. In addition, Alteryx learning programs have been integrated into Return-to-Work programs globally, with the software provided for free. It is about education, role models, and determination for women entering the tech industry. Companies, in general, must do a better job of making tech roles visible so that more girls and women realise they are an option.
Celebrating women in analytics
The remarkable thing about technology is that it is fast-paced, creative, and can be life-changing. Careers in technology for women and other genders can be humanitarian, analytical, visual, and daring. It can serve many functions and is available for many different skill sets.
Technology brands around Australia have an opportunity to better represent the diversity of roles in technology. We have so many strong women in technology in Australia in a variety of roles – from leaders to coders to designers – across industries. Every time we celebrate these women and their unique career paths, we show all women what is possible.
Promoting mentorship at the workplace
If you want to foster a diverse environment, you must have the infrastructure and mechanisms to support that environment.
At Alteryx, an active Women and Allies Employee Resource Group ensures that we bring the entire organisation on the journey. We also have specific programs in functional areas, such as SOAR, a mentorship program for women in sales, and WESP, an executive shadow program for women. Mentors in the workplace can become supporters in promoting gender equality. Mentorships can be particularly helpful to women in tech who are mid-way through their career – a point where many seem to change direction as the extra support and advice can help them to develop skills, be heard in the workplace, and create opportunities for promotion.
A diverse workforce is crucial for businesses that want to ensure they are engaging the entire spectrum of their customers, shareholders and potential employees. It has been shown in the past that those companies that speak publicly about wanting to welcome a more varied workforce to their industry are the ones that have the most success attracting them. We all have a role to play.