The tech sector can, and should, be the leader at showcasing the advantages of diversity. In many ways, we are all limited by the tools that we use. The cloud is enabling companies to overcome many barriers that were, until recently, impenetrable.
Why do we prize technology over everything else? Because it helps us solve problems as efficiently as possible. That much is simple. But our technology itself is the product of a certain mindset. We have to be willing to prioritize efficient solutions over all else.
And the best solution can come from anywhere. A 10-year-old might blurt something out that could inspire a new product. A janitor might point out where a CEO is (actually) going wrong. Nature just isn’t as linear as we’d like to think it is.
No one can predict which age, gender, ethnicity or nationality the next great idea might come from. So, you’d think that the tech industry would know better than to be held hostage by petty hierarchies and egocentrism. But the truth, as it turns out, is quite different. Women only account for a quarter of computing jobs. Blacks and Latinos also just make up around 8 percent of an average tech company’s workforce.
Fortunately, though, there are brands out there proving that whatever excuses their peers are using to maintain the status quo are pointless. Here’s how.
SaaS powering global equal-opportunity employers
Moving to another part of the world for work’s sake does pose a challenge. And since most tech jobs are located at specific hotspots, many talented workers always find themselves unemployed.
Software as a Service products and services are enabling employers to find and employ talent from all over the world. Remote working, work from anywhere and digital nomadism are slowly becoming the new normal.
The trend has also done wonders for solving social inequality at the workplace and is useful in more ways than one. Firstly, companies can find and employ whoever best fits the role — it’s becoming increasingly common to find online teams of different nationalities working to solve common challenges. Next, it is well known that our social and cultural backgrounds determine our perspectives; a multicultural team can harness all its members’ ideas and use them to refine its product or service.
Digital marketing firm Loganix understands the potential of having a diverse team. The company runs almost all its operations globally — with teams of people from the US, Asia, Australia and Europe — an employees are dynamically moved between different teams, depending on requirements, allowing quick resolution of issues.
SaaS breaking the language barrier
Say “social inequality” and the first thing people think of is ingrained bigotry — but often, the problem has a legitimate basis. If employees and employers don’t speak the same language, then there’s little chance of them working together.
Poor or different communication skills can fuel many workplace misunderstandings. And it costs quite a bit of time and money to learn a new language.
The US Foreign Services Institute estimates it takes on average 480 hours to gain basic competence in Group 1 languages. This can cost several thousand dollars over a couple of months. Of course, it takes that long and costs that much if you do it the old-fashioned way — people can hire a tutor online at much more affordable rates today. But finding a tutor online is rarely easy. It’s hard to know how good a tutor is by looking at their Facebook or LinkedIn profile.
This was a problem that cloud-based tuition service Preply aimed to fix. The platform offers a place for both language tutors and students to collaborate easily and affordably. Tutors can create their profiles with rates, experience and number of languages spoken; and students can review their tutors, making it easy for other students to decide who to hire.
Workers planning to move to another country can use such services to learn a new language for far cheaper than attending a language school. HR teams can also hire tutors to both educate employees who need to go abroad or new recruits from other countries.
SaaS helping new entrepreneurs operate more affordably
Social inequality isn’t always about creed, gender or nationality. Entrepreneurs are usually handicapped due to high entry barriers in business.
That’s inequality, too. Consequently, they struggle endlessly — sometimes with little or no payoff. The sad fact is that most founders grossly underestimate the cost of getting business in the door, and even their day-to-day running.
Indeed, the Cost of Acquiring Customers (CAC) is every bit the startup killer it is known to be. New entrepreneurs have to face a learning curve, which adds to that cost. Since these new entrepreneurs are still working out the kinks, they’ll pay more for each customer than their well-established peers.
All of this, of course, depends on how a business chooses to find new customers. If it goes with a “throw strategies out there and see what sticks” approach, there's little chance of success. But the cost of reaching out has been dropping drastically, mostly due to smart, SaaS-powered tools to find relevant information.
Oleg Campbell, a Ukrainian developer who bootstrapped his startup, Reply, to a $2 million a year company, certainly identifies with the struggle. Campbell’s lack of sales experience stalled the growth of his first enterprise. Consequently, he focused his efforts on helping tech entrepreneurs overcome their lack of salesmanship with smarter tools.
Reply’s LinkedIn email finder is specifically for new companies looking for affordable, effective lead generation. Such a tool can help a user find email addresses of prospects on LinkedIn. Paired with LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, users can create highly personalized outreach messages for each prospect.
Similarly, invoicing software Freshbooks lets users manage their day-to-business finances from one dashboard. Made for startups and solopreneurs, the tool can help track everything from invoices to expenses from one dashboard.
Services such as Reply and Freshbooks give enterprise-level operating abilities to startups at a fraction of the price. This, in turn, helps level the playing field — giving the little guys a bigger chance.
The tech sector can, and should, be the leader at showcasing the advantages of diversity. In many ways, we are all limited by the tools that we use. The cloud is enabling companies to overcome many barriers that were until recently impenetrable.