Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a challenge as big as finding new talent. While tech companies face a unique challenge with talent, D&I is a challenge for every industry.
Even if companies are successfully able to build a diverse team and culture, they are not gathering the necessary data.
That, according to Yeni Joseph, lead of the Taskforce Diversity & Inclusion by NLdigital, was the biggest learning from Dutch D&I in Digital benchmark report 2022.
As a collaborative effort between key stakeholders in the Dutch tech ecosystem including Techleap.nl, Diversity Hero, Booking.com, and the Taskforce D&I by NLdigital, the Dutch D&I in Digital benchmark will represent the majority of companies in the Dutch digital industry.
Click here to participate in Dutch D&I in Digital benchmark report 2023.
Taskforce Diversity & Inclusion (D&I): what you need to know
The Taskforce Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is a public-private initiative led by NLdigital in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate.
It was formed with the intent of promoting gender equality in the Dutch digital industry.
Taskforce D&I is also tasked with the responsibility to activate companies and relevant partners to join the benchmark.
While the central goal is to create a platform for Dutch digital companies to voluntarily share their diversity findings and data, the benchmark report published often helps with policy frameworks as well.
The Dutch D&I in Digital benchmark report 2022 was the first such report to be published by the Taskforce D&I and it showed the digital companies in the Netherlands primarily tracked gender, age, and ethnicity as a metric for understanding diversity.
It was also the only such study to include actual in-company data and not available industry data, to offer a true picture of the industry.
“The first edition was much focused on gender diversity, making the threshold for companies to join relatively low,” says Joseph.
With the second edition, the taskforce is focussing on gathering more data on D&I strategy. Joseph says they want to see if companies track pay and/or promotion and whether people belonging to underrepresented groups are represented at all levels of leadership.
“An important learning [from 2022 Report] is that many companies (in the Netherlands) don’t gather D&I data beyond gender diversity from their employees (e.g. cultural diversity, inclusion culture), mainly because they think it is not allowed/not possible,” adds Joseph.
Solutions over results
If the first edition of the Dutch D&I in Digital benchmark report focussed on results then the second edition aims to be about solutions.
The Dutch D&I in Digital benchmark report 2023 will be presented at the TNW Conference 2023 in June and Joseph says the report will go beyond the benchmark results.
If the Tech Talent Charter UK paints a true picture of the diversity and inclusion efforts of UK-based digital companies then the Dutch D&I in Digital benchmark report can be dubbed as the equivalent in the Netherlands.
“The report will provide companies with actual solutions/best practices supporting them to improve/do better,” she says.
Joseph adds, “We believe that this year more companies will join, as they now have a better understanding of what to expect/why it is important to join.”
This year’s report will also ask participants questions around gender diversity (in tech jobs), overall D&I strategy, efforts, and actions of organisations.
With policy developments such as 33 per cent female quota and upcoming EU regulation around equal pay coming into effect amidst tech talent shortage, Joseph says “companies are looking for ways to widen the pipeline of talent by attracting (and retaining) more diverse talent.”
Gillian Tans, founder of Diversity Hero and former CEO at Booking.com, says, “Let’s start combining commitment with what tech companies do best: follow the data. We have to dig deeper, learn from each other, find patterns and be courageous. It’s time to make changes that actually work.”
Need to accelerate D&I in Dutch tech ecosystem
One of the salient features of the Dutch tech ecosystem is its reliance on data to make big changes.
With the Dutch D&I in Digital benchmark, the Taskforce D&I aims to follow a similar approach with emphasis on a data-driven approach to accelerate D&I in the Dutch tech ecosystem.
Yeni Joseph says what isn’t measured cannot be managed and the data provided by participating organisations will allow for creation of a unique, anonymous and aggregated index on diversity and inclusion in the digital industry in the Netherlands.
For Dutch companies participating in the benchmark, the advantage will also come in the form of exposure to upcoming governmental policies or legislation demand for accelerated efforts and data transparency.
When asked why companies in the Dutch digital industry should participate in this report, Joseph says it offers insights to be a D&I frontrunner in an industry not known for championing diversity.
She says the participating organisations will also get access to an individual dashboard to benchmark their progress against other groups of anonymous organisations.
For Taskforce D&I, the report is an essential tool to help Dutch digital companies understand their D&I strategies and learn from others driving progress.
Signs of progress in Dutch D&I
In June 2023, when the Taskforce D&I debuts the Dutch D&I in Digital benchmark, both employees and employers in the Dutch tech ecosystem will be looking for signs of progress.
One of the first signs of progress can be observed from the varied data signals that will be available in the report.
For instance, the Dutch D&I in Digital benchmark report 2022 showed digital companies limiting their data gathering to gender, age, and ethnicity.
This year, the benchmark will show the progress made to understand other parameters such as orientation and socio-economic background.
“Many companies still find it difficult/are not sure how to track these (more sensitive) types of D&I data points,” says Joseph. “It all starts with building trust with your employees and communicating the advantage of tracking these sensitive data points.”
For this year’s report, the benchmark will also look at the entire pipeline of the digital ecosystem. The report will include insights from universities and look at upskilling and reskilling initiatives to add more data and insights.
The Netherlands is becoming a hub not only for innovation but also for fostering a tech ecosystem that provides equal opportunity to everyone.
With Amsterdam becoming the second largest tech ecosystem in Europe, the Dutch D&I in Digital benchmark report will act as an example for startup ecosystems as well.
With detailed insights on current D&I strategy, efforts, and activities of companies, and a look at the role of dedicated D&I KPIs for leaders in the Dutch digital ecosystem, the report aims to become the ground zero for progress in diversity and inclusion.
All companies registered in the Netherlands with 10+ employees in the Dutch tech and digital ecosystem can participate in the Dutch D&I in Digital benchmark 2023 for free of charge. Click here to submit your data.