Closing the tech gender gap through philanthropy and corporate social responsibility

McKinsey & Company | March 2019

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Michael Conway, Kweilin Ellingrud, Tracy Nowski, and Renee Wittemyer

A lack of gender diversity carries with it a major opportunity cost, both for individual tech companies and the entire sector. Diverse teams, including those with greater gender diversity, are on average more creative, innovative, and, ultimately, are associated with greater profitability. This strong positive correlation between higher levels of employee diversity and stronger financial performance has been demonstrated consistently across sectors and geographies, and tech is no different. Plus, tech companies’ recent public struggles on gender-related issues have demonstrated there are real, immediate costs that result from a lack of inclusion and diversity—lost stock value, lower market share, HR costs, and public relations costs, among others. There is no question that the tech sector can help create a brighter future for women and girls in computing.

Through a survey of 32 leading tech companies representing nearly $500 billion in revenues and slightly more than $500 million in philanthropic giving in 2017, as well as extensive interviews with approximately 40 tech-company leaders, we found evidence of why, exactly, current philanthropic and CSR efforts are falling short. Tech company action today will create opportunities for women to lead innovation tomorrow.

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