What are some areas for improvement in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives?

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Director of Security Operations in Finance (non-banking), 5,001 - 10,000 employees
Inclusion is important but you also have to ask yourself: what are you doing to actually create the numbers? An emphasis on inclusion tends to mask the reality that we're just giving lip service to diversity concerns overall. Cybersecurity has been at about 10% to 11% female for the decades I've been in it. And for Black and Hispanic folks, both groups of which I'm a member, the collective total is 12% across the entire profession. Cybersecurity is an area in which we are facing shortages, and if we don't fix the diversity number, it's not going to get any better. Emphasizing inclusion is great if it truly isn't there, but I've often found it to be a way of obscuring the fact that the organization is not changing its hiring practices to improve diversity.
CIO and Startup Advisor in Software, 10,001+ employees
There's been a lot of focus on gender, but I often arrive at a CIO conference to find that I'm one of the seven or eight women who are all seated at different tables. We never get to meet each other because they sprinkle us around the room so they can say, “We have women at every table.” But it's a pipeline issue as well, so we need talent development to happen so much earlier than college. Programs in college are great, but we need to start in fourth, fifth or sixth grade. That’s when kids are being told that math is hard and not fun. We do lose a lot of women to careers, but COVID has been a catalyst to allowing people to work from home. Hopefully that will also help to slow down that shortage in the pipeline as women bear children and need to stay home with them, or need to coordinate pick-up and drop-off times, etc.

It takes a very long time to make these changes, but we're heading in the right direction. There are shifts happening, I just don't know that we'll get to see the substantive change we'd like to see in our generation. There is still a lot of lip service, and it's the same with ESG. Diversity and inclusion constitute the social piece in ESG, but ESG itself is still new. It's still forming and it will continue forming for the next 30 years, at least.
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President and National Managing Principal in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees

Nowadays you're starting to see ESG included in companies’ annual reports. That could be lip service for their stockholders, or they might truly believe in it. There are some models out there, but I wouldn't say there's a lot from a standards perspective. Those of us in cybersecurity know standards have taken 30 years and they're still evolving.

CEO in Software, 11 - 50 employees
How do we create a clear statement, even if it's just for our own companies, that demonstrates the real world facts about how diversity and inclusion add value to an organization. That could be an opportunity for all of us. There are more than enough documented papers proving that DEI isn’t being pursued just because it feels good to us.

If we look at sustainability as a way to make a company better and stronger, why wouldn't we want to point those things out from a human perspective as well? Not just that we have a continuous supply chain of humans, but that we're sustainable about how we keep those humans happy, and how we add them to the organization to bring in diverse ideas and different viewpoints in order to make the company better. I don't see why that's so hard, but I don't see that many people making that kind of effort.
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President and National Managing Principal in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees

We all know that a team needs different perspectives and great things happen when you bring those viewpoints together. That's a phenomenal point in talking about impact and there are studies on it. You need the empirical stories to show what such a group is able to accomplish.

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