Why workplace diversity benefits your business?
by Radostina Georgieva, Consultant at S&G Technology Services
What is the role of the IT consultant for the financial industry?
In the last decade, we have witnessed how new technologies are entering financial services at high speed; regulatory authorities have higher requirements for security and transparency of transactions, and competition is increasing with the entry of new participants into payment processes. These circumstances require banks and financial institutions to look for a new competitive advantage and customer approach. And the role of IT consultants fits the mentioned demands.
But how exactly do consulting companies help financial institutions to achieve their clients’ business goals? Statista (statistic portal for market data) defines it as a role ” that helps businesses evaluate technology strategies to align their technology strategies with their business strategies or internal processes. Consulting areas include overall strategy, technology architecture and implementation“. (Statista, 2021) In this regard, it is essential to note that IT consulting companies that are specialized in the financial industry are built on the combined skills of business analysts experienced in financial products and services and technology experts who can dress the innovative business solution into appropriate software decisions. Both types of professionals compose the IT consulting role.
Why are IT consulting companies looking for diversity in building their teams and what are the main factors that contribute to the growth and excellent business performance?
In today’s extreme competition between IT consulting companies and fintech companies, creating an innovative technological product or service with unique, distinctive features is essential. This is achievable when you bring together people who have strong technical knowledge, financial expertise, and various decision-making capabilities. Their perceptions of business are largely shaped by gender, age, experience, environment and the culture in which they have accumulated their knowledge and skills. And this is not a justification for creating a team, but a conclusion that is based on studies proving that the diversity of the workforce in IT consultant companies increases the company’s revenue. Let’s see how different factors impact IT companies’ results:
The first by importance, and the most noticeable factor is gender diversification. As technological trends reveal, the IT industry is constantly one step ahead of innovation. However, there is one area where the industry appears to be falling behind: gender diversity. It’s important in the IT consulting business “because a diverse workforce contributes to ideas and skills used in developing products and services that don’t just cater to one aspect of society.” (Chang, 2022). According to ILO (International Labour Organisation) global research made in 2019 for 116 countries, women’s median share of employment in IT sector is less than one third. Despite the small share of women’s employment in the IT sector, there are investigation results that present women’s contribution to this industry: men and women have different views on things that bring diverse perspectives to solving problems, leading to increased productivity. Forbes’ article “Top Three Reasons We Need More Women In Tech” quoted Fortune 500 research, which says: “companies with at least three women in leading positions saw a 66% increase in ROI and have a purchasing power of an estimated $5 trillion.” And this is not only based on the purchasing power of women but also on their practical solutions for creating products and services that are essential to the consumer.
Although globally, the results for gender diversification in tech companies are low, in SNG Technology Services, 67% of consultants are women. The teams of business-tech consultants are also led by women. Our team leaders are part of this low statistical data, which presents women in STEM. But their strong technological experience in developing financial products and services for a lot of financial institutions brings this special value of awareness and trust in our clients. And this is one of the reasons led to successfully conducted projects which resulted in 2021 with an EBITDA margin of 20.4%.
As we continue our investigation about workforce diversification, we cannot skip the age of the employees. Age diversity is an important piece of an inclusive and effective workplace. In most cases, employers are looking for experienced senior employees who can quickly integrate and put their knowledge and skills into practice. From another point of view, experienced employees can build a mentoring program to pass on their valuable practices to the younger generation.
But the strength and skills of the younger generation should not be underestimated. The changes that the younger generation of IT consultants will implement in financial services are based on their lifestyles and habits. This mixture between experienced tech consultants and newcomers correlates directly to higher productiveness which is resulting in successful project completion of innovations that are necessary to facilitate daily life and also to the new customer expectations. “My Money My Future Challenge” (CFEE, 2022) is an example of how the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education stimulated the new generation through a rewarding competition to give innovative ideas for creating digital tools for managing their money. This is just a sample of how to cultivate innovative thinking in the next gen. So, the employees will face another challenge when they already attracted a talented young consultant and it is how to retain them. The answer maybe is “re-attract” them.
After all, age is only a number when we talk about skills and talent. Cultural diversity is another common factor that includes “all deeply rooted patterns of values, customs, attitudes and beliefs, that distinguish one group from another”. (SHRM, 2018). Our cultural identity influences our self-perception. It’s the sense of belonging to and identification with a certain group. But there are persons who have a multicultural identity that mixes identities from several groups. And this multicultural identity is not only defined by different nationalities, but it also includes work experience with different cultures. When a manager is leading properly this multicultural workforce, it can provide significant resources for innovation by utilizing their cultural intelligence.
A growing number of IT consulting companies are relying on inclusion and diversity. At S&G Technology Services we believe in good cooperation by accepting the diversity of the team as a basis for good performance of the company and achieving high results. We believe in the power of workforce diversification because great ideas can come from any team member.
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