How Tech’s Diversity Problem Has Become A Virus On Its Product Lines

How Tech’s Diversity Problem Has Become A Virus On Its Product Lines

We don’t want jerks, no matter how talented. And we will not tolerate any behavior that is “jerk-like.”

Most people are able to work on their ability to relate. It may be a bigger task for some than for others – but with coaching, dedication, and hard work, employees can improve the ways in which they interact with their peers.

A facility for making careful adjustments to interpersonal skills would do the tech sector the world of good – particularly at a time when one of its highest-profile leaders takes such a dubiously optimistic view of the industry’s people politics.

In a 6 May interview with Wired, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella declared that the days of tech firms giving “talented jerks” the benefit of the doubt are over.

“That’s done,” he told the journal. “In 2019, to succeed, I hope anybody joining this industry starts by saying, ‘I want to be great by honing my skills, but I want to create energy around me where people of all genders and ethnicities can contribute.’”

Nadella’s rose-tinted assessment arrived just a few weeks after a damning Quartz report lifted the lid on serious problems with Microsoft’s treatment of women. The report stemmed from a recent, internal email chain packed with disturbing accounts of misogynist behavior at Microsoft – with many contributors attacking the firm’s HR wing for doing nothing about it.

Tech leaders have no place to hide, here – for according to a recent report from specialist researchers AI Now, a lack of diversity in the industry is having a significant impact on its product lines.

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