How does this link to our mission with The Dots?
For me, LinkedIn always felt like it encouraged homogeneity, but being a dyslexic sole female tech founder, I never felt I fit the classic mould - it’s our differences that make us individually brilliant. So, in 2014, I sunk everything into starting The Dots. Our mission is simple - to become the next generation’s professional network that promotes social responsibility and helps open up opportunities to everyone.
To help, The Dots team ensure that over 50% of the people we feature on The Dots are female and over 30% BAME. We have also removed the ability for companies who use The Dots to be able to search for talent based on where candidates went to university.
We also try to be the change we want to see: 50% of The Dots’ employees are female, 27% are BAME and 13% are LGBT+.
So, even with a diverse community such as The Dots (which is 68% female, 31% BAME & 16% LGBT+), we want to ensure that people have the opportunity to be assessed for roles based on their strength of work and merit, rather than their background.
Unconscious bias: why there is no quick fix and how we can work together to resolve it.
Although work goes on inside organisations to promote diversity and un-learn / re-program ingrained biases, the fact is they still exist.
We all have mindsets that affect our judgment, and research indicates that the human brain categorises other people in as little as 0.1 seconds.
With a diverse community such as The Dots, we want to ensure that people have the opportunity to be assessed for roles based on their strength of work and merit, rather than their background. After digging a little deeper, we found some alarming facts:
Turkish women wearing headscarves in photos attached to CVs are 4.5x less likely to be offered interviews than European women without headscarves. [HBR] The ‘Mohammed or Adam’ study found that having a Muslim name meant you were 4x less likely to be offered an interview than a man with a European name. [BBC] 39% of UK hiring managers have not received training in unconscious bias best-practice as part of the recruitment process. [Adecco survey] Employers’ body the CIPD stating that one in five female job seekers from an ethnic minority have changed their name on a job application. [The Guardian] 92% of founders are familiar with the term ‘unconscious bias,’ but only 45% are taking steps to reduce it. [Techstars]
Why is unconscious bias in tech getting scarier?
As we enter an age of automation, machines are taught to think like the teams that build them (often homogeneous teams based in Silicon Valley); in which case bias can be amplified at a mass scale.
With this in mind, it’s critically important that all companies build teams that represent wider society as much as possible – only then are we going to start solving the most pressing problems. This goes far beyond just gender - it’s about different ethnicities, cultures, neurodiversity (dyslexia, ADHD, autism etc.), sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic backgrounds and more.