Vision of Future of Work in Tech
The future of work in tech is built on a foundation of human values, and our desire to make more money, become more powerful, and to innovate technology. The workplace will attract and retain women and minorities, as well as majority groups, as all will feel valued and included. There is no other way than this holistic way to grow the economy, to stay ahead of creating new jobs as AI plays a bigger role, and to fix the inequalities that are deeply ingrained in the tech industry.
In five years ambitious, well educated, entrepreneurial women and men will want to work or start companies in tech and/or in Silicon Valley (including SF and the Bay Area). Graduates and leaders, investors and entrepreneurs around the world will join tech companies and businesses based in Silicon Valley because these companies are role models for the future of work. The tech industry and Silicon Valley are no longer followers when it comes to inclusion and diversity. They are the leaders.
Regardless of our starting point, industry and company (external factors), and irrespective of what genes and environment that has shaped us (internal factors), we are inclusive and we are offering an environment where creative thinking and being different is safe. The workplace represents the population and our customers.
Silicon Valley (and much of the tech industry around the world) has become the model for how modern companies are created, set up, funded and run. The standards that we see today have two main objectives in mind; to build the best technology in the world, and to make as much money as possible. Nothing wrong with that per se, but the human aspect and values are suffering, and the companies are unable to attract and retain women and minorities. Today about a quarter of workers in computing are women, and about 11% of executives in Silicon Valley are women. The numbers for black women and hispanic women are so low that they barely register on the charts. (McKinsey, LeanIn included women of color in their 2017 report).
The challenge is to attract and retain talent to and in the tech industry.
We are making amazing progress in the AI field, and it will require creativity to invent new jobs for workers. It has to happen now, and not as an afterthought when jobs are starting to be replaced. The machine-man shift in the workplace triggers and makes the conversation around human value and mind more relevant. The inventors and innovative thinkers of today need to create jobs not yet imaginable.
Soft skills are and will be a requirement of successful business leadership. To start, scale and sustain a business contributing to the economy, leaders have to look to human values and corporate culture as much as they look to numbers and being at the forefront of tech development. Many of the fast growing companies in SF/Silicon Valley today do have leaders that have graduated in humanities (psychology, literature etc) rather than a pure engineering education and degree.
The inequalities in tech that are a result of negligence, ignorance, history, social and business standards, have created a place where minorities and women are undervalued and don’t feel welcome. It must be addressed. It’s a massive undertaking and on it’s own it can be difficult to argue for, but creating an inclusive workplace is closely connected the other two challenges above (creation of new jobs and growing the economy).
A Simplified Description of a Solution
Firstly, let’s agree that
- all qualified people belong in the tech industry, regardless of preferences, heritage, and background
- the economy is affected by innovation and that innovation is more probable and successful with diverse teams
- diversity of the workforce without inclusive culture will get us nowhere
- the shift that will be created by AI in the workplace will effect us all and it time to address it
- the drivers of the technology sector today are money, power and tech itself, and that human values have been overlooked
- by reintroducing human values we can make the workplace more attractive to those who are not compelled to join or stay today.
Starting with innovation as the driver for growing the economy, for creating new jobs, and for inclusive leadership; we need to free up time and create a safe space for more innovation. To free up time, we have to we have to increase productivity in existing situations (job/work/day), and to do that we need employees to be “happy” in their current jobs. To achieve “happiness”, we have to create an environment of feedback, safely and belonging. To reach this type of environment, we need good and well educated (in humanities) leaders, and to attract this type of leaders, we need to rethink and address what motivates people to come to and stay in tech. Money, power and technology are not enough to motivate all talent to join tech, which means that we are missing out on a lot of talent and good leadership.
The foundation of the future of work in tech will attract talent. What we are building for millennials and generation Z adds human values (i.e. work-life balance, happiness, justice, equality, health, respect, safety, belonging, inclusion) to the ones we see today (money, power, winning). This holistic foundation will shape the view of and reality in tech, and create a place where employees thrive, generating higher productivity, and in turn further innovation, and improved financial results. It is a positive and upward spiral.
To learn how, join EQ Inspiration as we continue to expand the vision of and take action to improve the future of work in tech. Stay tuned for why you matter, why the time is now, and how you can make a difference.