Updated: Feb 22
Many companies have become notorious for their preferential hiring choices. Will remote work be able to bridge the gap and add more diversity?
Diversity is a sore point for many companies around the globe. Some of the giants of the sector started releasing diversity reports back in 2015, and evaluating them now it's evident that the needed improvements in hiring minorities and previously under-served groups have not taken hold as much as they should.
Nowhere are these hiring gaps more apparent than in highly-technical fields like software engineering and data science. While there has been an incremental increase in the number of women joining these companies, for example, the number of candidates that identify as POC grew by less than a percentage since the last diversity report.
This can be attributed to numerous factors, and even with companies providing more training options to minorities considering tech-based educations, it hasn't been enough.
Will remote work be an advantageous move for hiring diversity? Is it the answer to making the workplace more inclusive? We investigate.
How Does Remote Work Compare
Firstly, it's important to note that remote work does not automatically equal diverse companies. In order for companies to take the big picture approach to inclusive hiring, there has to be a strong combination of intention and strategy from the get-go. This is an attitude that needs to present from the top of the managerial ladder to the lowest rung employees.
A recent report by the digital HR firm Clutch found that with remote work policies in place, nearly 60% of respondents said that their company had become more diverse in the last year, with just under 25% voicing their support for more internal discussions on how to improve employee diversity.
At the same time, experts have voiced their concerns about the accuracy of these numbers. Diversity can be a difficult thing to gauge, spanning many different categories, and it can be easy for companies (and employees) to over or underestimate how diverse their teams really are.
So what makes remote work a strong contender for improving diversity compared to traditional work environments?
Why Diversity Stands A Better Chance With Remote Work
There are a few different things that make the remote work environment one that has a chance of positively affecting diversity in hiring.
The ability to work from anywhere has long been lauded as one of the biggest benefits of remote work, but the key is that it also applies to hiring. Working with a global talent pool makes it easier for companies to hire individuals from previously under-represented groups. Creating culturally-integrated teams may be more intensive, but the results can be a highly positive and encouraging sign of the future norm.
Another thing contributing to diversity in remote work is the robust infrastructure that helps people of all different backgrounds work how they prefer. Remote working has significantly enhanced accessibility. Job candidates with disabilities are no longer held back by the traditional office space, can work from the comfort of their own homes, and make use of an entire diaspora of tools available to streamline their daily tasks. The focus with remote work is ultimately on output over everything else.
By allowing individuals to work from their home offices everyone can work where and how they are most comfortable, with the amenities they need to be productive and happy.
Remote Companies Focused On Diversity
There are a few remote companies that have started making waves in terms of diversifying their hiring. Whether they're startups or enterprise-level businesses, the steps they have taken towards equality and fairness in the screening of job candidates are solidifying representation in the workplace for generations to come.
Here are three examples of the remote companies that have dedicated themselves to creating a more open hiring process:
Salesforce is one of the largest (and recently) remote-based companies in the US, creating powerful cloud-based CRM solutions. Salesforce has gone a long way to ensure that their hiring processes are fair and equitable, and the statistics about their teams show it! Learn about their equality and future diversity goals here.
Zillow is the online real estate database used by buyers and sellers alike, while also promoting lending options through third-parties. The company gained recognition for being listed in the first Bloomberg Equality Index, and for introducing training programs aimed at supporting minority workers and reducing biases.
As one of the biggest distributed teams in the world, GitLab has taken serious steps towards diversifying its workforce. With over 1300 employees in more than 60 countries and regions, the company regularly publishes its long list of diversity statistics and commitment to inclusion online.
These companies are just a glimpse into the moves being made by the remote sector to transform how we work. Remote work is here to stay, and it will become even more long-lasting by working towards better hiring solutions for all. There is still plenty of room for growth, but by moving forward with intent and the right approach remote companies are bridging the gap.
No matter your background, gender, race, or ability, we can help you take the next step towards getting hired by a remote company. Get started with a dedicated consultant today.