As members of the business community, we are rightly concerned about the gulf between industry needs and workforce readiness in the age of AI.
To address that concern, IBM makes a significant investment each year on reskilling and upskilling our employees, and we are deeply involved in education policy and programs worldwide.
But while the business community acknowledges that AI will change the way each of us works, what we may not fully recognize are the competitive opportunities presented by recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce during this transformative period.
Companies with diverse and inclusive workforces will thrive in the age of AI. That is because AI, through a combination of corporate purpose and precision regulation, can adapt itself to the needs and values of its users. Narrowly focused or culturally insensitive AI could leave its users behind the curve of worldwide demographic and societal trends. But technologies created and trained by and for the global population of the world’s markets can help propel their users to new heights of prosperity.
Who will help create the essential tools of the digital economy? Who will contribute their values and cultural perspectives—in addition to their technical expertise—to developing AI that serves all, and leaves none behind? The opportunity here—the one we must not miss—is the chance to include people of all backgrounds in the jobs that will help to shape the future. Providing education and skills training is a vital first step toward capitalizing on this opportunity, but we need to do much more.
How to Get There
Approaches to diversity recruiting should be holistic and nuanced. The following are some tips for creating a successful campaign:
Improving diversity hiring through updated methodologies, technologies and techniques can help improve business performance. AI is really opening the aperture to finding a broader range of talent, especially with our efforts to reduce bias in both hiring and our end-to-end talent process. It is time to discard unproductive practices such as recruiting underrepresented minorities without specific roles in mind, identifying roles exclusively as diversity set-asides or quotas, or leaving a company’s diverse constituency to address the issue in a vacuum.
Diversity recruiting should be a company-wide priority that has its basis in values and cultural sensitivity. It is only by working together that we can make the most of these otherwise missed opportunities.
By Obed Louissaint
What can organizations do to determine if their DEI initiatives are mere scaffolds or performative solidarity — or whether they’re actually positioned to put racial and gender equity at the center of the company’s core values and move the needle on change.
It’s a persistent myth: if a company recruits enough employees from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, a sufficient number will, over time, rise through the organization to create a diverse culture at all levels. But that is not happening.
The script at BIO this year could not have been more clear: Progress on diversity is being made, but more work needs to be done. Yet still, an undercurrent of biotech’s all-boys brand-of-old tugged at the heels of efforts to bolster those long-excluded from positions of authority.