Companies from multiple economic sectors are becoming increasingly concerned and are taking about actions to promote diversity — whether in an attempt to comply with legislation or by their own initiative.
For the ICT sector in particular, this agenda meets two demands at once: generating opportunities for those who depend on inclusion policies to enter the work force and creating means of mitigating the shortage of professionals in the area.
Skilled workforce in Information and Communication Technology
“There is an abyss in the number of ICT professionals in the market. We also have a great opportunity to pursue diversity in this sector”, notes Senac coordinator Gustavo Calixto. “For instance, Brazil is the country with the fewest women in IT leadership positions. In terms of the sector as a whole, women occupy only 37% of the available positions. Another problem, according to surveys, is that Afro-descendants still receive lower wages and, within this context, people with disabilities are still only hired for businesses can meet the quotas determined by law. This is something we should be concerned about. This should no longer be the way we view the world. We need to think in terms of fairness and opportunities generation”, defended the expert, during a panel he mediated at Futurecom 2022.
The good news is that many companies are preparing themselves and building structures to deal with the inclusion agenda. At Embratel, for instance, one of the steps was the establishment of a partnership with Edtech to offer more robust training in the technology area and focusing on soft skills. “We have created classes with PWDs (people with disabilities) for training and qualification, to put them in the job market. It is very rewarding to introduce new people to our industry. In addition to resolving our shortage of professionals, this is also making a difference for many people. It is very rewarding”, declared Embratel's Director of Digital Solutions Operations, Andrea Mannarino.
“We are looking for partnerships. We believe that the ecosystem can be cultivated through partnerships that help us train and qualify people”, corroborated Raízen's executive manager, Jaime Marlon Silva. “We have sought fairness, but we’ll admit that it is not such a simple affair. We talk a lot about Afro-descendants and women, but there are other minorities, like the population over the age of 50 and the underprivileged youth. Promoting diversity is a broad topic. Therefore, seeking correct partnerships is a way to promote fairness in companies.”
Long-term vision is the key to diversity in the sector
In order to attract applicants, opening a selection process focusing on the target audience and hiring seems to do the trick. But what about retaining professionals who are part of the so-called minorities and who end up facing very complex “cogs” inherent to the corporate universe? It is in this dynamic that we must relinquish immediacy so that the people contemplated can have the necessary time to be prepared.
“We talk a lot about inclusion, but this is a topic that does not mesh well with readiness. This prevents us from moving forward with fairness – how is a company going to manage to leverage people who need knowledge and who need to bring their own experience in order to perform in two months?”, asked Zenvia's senior manager, Alexandre Perrenoud.
Therefore, a long-term view is required. We talk extensively about the incubation process, and we are creating an employee journey similar to the consumer journey, which has several stages. We are focusing on that, on not demanding anything in the short term.”
Guilherme Fernandes Rela, Algar Telecom's ICT Business Director, also echoed this principle. “Each company has immediate challenges, but if we don't think, at the very least, in the medium term, we won't be able to change this reality”, added the executive. “You have to work at the ground level to train people and give them the time they need to develop. One example on our end is a program we call ‘Garotas Digitais’ (Digital Girls), which seeks to prepare women from the ages of 17 to 24, coming from a vulnerable social situation, but who want to work in the technology industry. So, we offer several courses, certifications, and multiple types of content for the development of these women.”
The power of welcoming for ICT professionals
While a long-term vision is required, providing the all-important support, including emotional support, on a daily basis, is another way of favoring those who need a little more time to be prepared. “We agree that companies have to offer training. But another point is that we need to have a welcoming environment for these people”, defended Globo’s senior analyst, Marianna Portela. “The lack of diversity in companies, in general, did not happen by chance. Therefore, just bringing professionals in won’t cut it: we also need to welcome them. When we bring diversity to the company, we bring diversity to the solution. This is not just a social issue.”
The same view was shared by the CEO of Unirede - TI Inteligency, Tatiana Rosa, who also defended the promotion of a friendlier environment to contribute to the adaptation of new employees. “Since we often work with open source, we tend to talk about collectiveness and collaborative approaches. This is something I often have in mind, because when we talk about diversity, we talk about welcoming and caring for the collective. The company needs to have a watchful gaze and to provide safe environment”, defended the executive. “We also try to work on the employee's journey. One of our movements, which we have named Zabbix Girls, attempts to attract women to the IT field and also welcome new workers who barely feel safe enough to ask questions.”
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