The lack of diversity in tech is not a new point of discussion and has been a problem for a long time for the whole industry. Overwhelmingly made up of white men from similar backgrounds, it has created an echo chamber effect that is negatively affecting critical thinking, end-product usability and ultimately revenue. Some tech companies are addressing this — Careem is one of those.
As of now, the tech team at Careem currently has 338 people comprising 49 different nationalities. Those nationalities are…
Pakistani, Indian, Egyptian, German, Russian, Brazilian, British, Turkish, Ukrainian, American, Swedish, Chinese, French, Serbian, Australian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Israeli, Italian, Jordanian, Moroccan, Nigerian, Greek, Lebanese, Romanian, South African, Tunisian, Venezuelan, Azerbaijani, Bangladeshi, Belarusian, Bosnian, Canadian, Cypriot, Finnish, Hungarian, Kuwaiti, Latvian, Nepalese, New Zealand, Palestinian, Polish, Saudi Arabian, South Korean, Spanish, Sudanese, Tajikistani, Thai and Yemeni.
The lunch orders are something of a process… but that diversity in tech brings a collective strength and depth of viewpoints that improves not only the workplace culture, but also the product.
We live in a diverse region — Dubai alone has over 200 nationalities living and working there and is over 80 percent expatriate. And because the end users are diverse, the people who are creating the technology also need to be diverse. That applies to pretty much everywhere in the world, but especially our Greater Middle East region.
A recent study presents overwhelming evidence that “teams that include different kinds of thinkers outperform homogenous groups on complex tasks” and result in improved problem solving, increased innovation, and more accurate predictions — all of which lead to better performance and results.
Likewise, a report from McKinsey revealed that “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians” and this makes sense. The more the workforce represents the public, the greater the public will be represented by the product — diversity helps companies be more innovative and profitable.
Todd Thibodeaux, CEO of the Computing Technology Industry Association, has even suggested that improved diversity could see as much as $400 billion in extra revenue each year for the industry and added, “financially a one percentage point move toward representative diversity leads to a three-point increase in revenue.”
Overall at Careem there are already 76 nationalities — and within the tech department there are 49 — all bringing different perspectives as well as expertise. It’s something we’re improving upon all the time as part of a wider policy of investing in diversity and wellbeing and it’s also important for recruitment, with nearly half of Millennials saying that a diverse workplace is an important factor when searching for a job.
This is a big issue for the tech industry, and by extension, society itself. The industry has acknowledged this and has begun working on the problem of diversity in tech and predictably there’s an app for that. Increasingly though, companies and organisations are trying to have more diversity within their numbers — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s also the smart thing to.
See also: How Careem designs for inclusivity