Jennifer “JJ” Davis, Senior Vice President, Global Communications, Dell Technologies (left) speaks with Brian Reaves, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Dell during the Dell Technologies World conference.

Apr 30 2019

Dell Technologies World 2019: Dell Seeks to Close IT Skills Gap with Diversity and Inclusion

By helping to improve education and training, IT companies can ensure tech jobs don’t go unfilled.

Tech jobs are growing in number, but the talent necessary to fill those jobs may not be keeping pace, putting business innovation at risk. In fact, projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast that by 2024 there will be 1.4 million computer science–related jobs in the U.S., but there will only be 400,000 graduates with the skills necessary to fill them.

What can companies do to help close the gap and ensure that progress can proceed apace? Diversity and inclusion efforts can go a long way in helping to expand the computer science, IT and cybersecurity workforce, according to Dell’s Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Brian Reaves.

“There are definitely enough people in this world with skill and will, and if empowered correctly they can address that skills lead,” said Reaves, speaking to media and analysts during a session at Dell Technologies World on April 29.

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How Dell Moves the Needle on Diversity

What does it take to empower women and minorities, who have traditionally been left out of the tech space? With Reaves leading the charge, Dell is approaching it from multiple angles, with training and support being a key imperative.

“A lot of perception around a future in tech happens very, very early,” said Reaves, noting that Dell has been making significant investments in training and empowerment for students in kindergarten through 12th grade in the past five years.

“What we’re trying to do strategically now to try to thread that loop … not only how do we invest in K–12, but how do we track that talent throughout, because it leaks all the way through? If you don’t follow that person through high school, into university and empower them in university, that leakage continues to happen,” said Reaves.

Beyond schooling, Dell is also making moves to continue supporting women and minorities once they enter the workforce. Dell is doing this within its own ranks through multiple methods, one of which is to address and train workers on unconscious bias, which can often negatively impact women and minorities in the workplace, threatening an inclusive culture and preventing companies from hiring diverse talent.

In addition to training, Dell has teamed with HR consultancy Mercer to build an artificial intelligence platform that can understand the impact of unconscious bias on the talent lifecycle.


Diversity and Inclusion as a Business Imperative

Reaves stressed that while diversity and inclusion are important in their own right, they are also a “business imperative,” and that by making changes to the workplace to address inherent problems, companies can both fill jobs and improve innovation.

“The discussion needs to move from ‘It’s a handout, and we’re only doing this because it’s a nice thing to do,’ to ‘If we don’t do this we won’t innovate, and we won’t continue to grow our businesses toward success,’” said Reaves.

To make that impact clear, Dell is measuring several KPIs with the help of emerging technology to track representation, retention and innovation in diverse teams.

“Companies will move on this topic once they know that the actions they take are creating value in the company,” said Reaves.

BizTech will cover Dell Technologies World 2019 from the show floor to gather perspectives from industry executives and experts on the latest trends in digital transformation, cybersecurity and more. Keep this page bookmarked for stories from the BizTech team.

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