In my 20-plus years in Canada’s IT industry, I have witnessed several incredible changes. The way we do business has shifted, particularly in what is now an even more digital-first world. The IT industry is highly influential and shapes much of how business, and the world, works. As I know well from years in the channel and now working with our Canadian partners, solution providers play a key role in helping businesses of all sizes modernize and transform.
As we lead the way on business transformation, we also have an unmissable opportunity to be leaders on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The past year – including the global movement for racial justice – has been a poignant reminder for businesses that social, environmental, economic, and cultural issues are all intertwined. Purpose-driven action is not only the right thing to do but is unquestionably linked to business success.
According to Statistics Canada, for every one per cent increase in diversity, there is a 2.4 per cent average growth in revenue and a 0.5 per cent increase in productivity. Inclusion is also essential to innovation – and Canadians know it. The Rideau Hall Foundation’s 2020 Culture of Innovation Index Report found that not only do Canadians see innovation as an engine for the common good, they also see diversity as a key driver. Over the years, technology firms, HP Canada included, have increased investments in DEI efforts, but we still have more work to do to make our industry truly inclusive.
The Centre for International Governance Innovation has reported that women are four times less likely to be employed in technology and earn less relative to their male peers. This wage gap is also seen in minority populations, with technology workers identifying as a visible minority earning $3,100 less than non-visible minority employees. Indigenous peoples face a similar wage challenge, but the difference can range anywhere from $3,400 – $30,100 relative to non-Indigenous tech workers.
The moral and business cases for DEI are clear, and HP continues to act. We recently launched the HP Racial Equality and Social Justice Task Force, which identifies and executes the biggest opportunities we have as a company to drive societal change, beginning south of the border, then expanding globally. As we strive to create stronger policies, programs and strategies that foster DEI, the channel is an essential partner in bringing this to life.
Our organizations must reflect the demographics and the values of our customers and communities. A thriving IT channel requires innovative and customer-oriented thinkers. Organizations that do not prioritize building diverse and inclusive teams will be setting themselves up to fail.
Many members of the channel are already making progress towards meaningful impact through truly supportive partnerships. This is why HP is working to support our channel partners to implement their own measures to achieve a more diverse workforce.
The tools within this new program are designed to help partners pinpoint DEI goals, identify gaps in achievement, and develop strategies to bridge those gaps. Our fundamental approach with HP Amplify Impact is based on accountability. Every part of the channel ecosystem has a role to play in transforming our industry – and Canada – for the better.