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Breaking the Diversity Barriers in IT Work Culture by Optimizing AI

  /  Artificial Intelligence   /  Breaking the Diversity Barriers in IT Work Culture by Optimizing AI
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Breaking the Diversity Barriers in IT Work Culture by Optimizing AI

While AI has a harrowing reputation of being prone to Bias, Now it can help counter Diversity Challenges in the IT workspace.


We are aware that AI and IT companies are predominately white and male. Women and people of color are shockingly underrepresented, even in the 21st century. And now experts are worried if AI too is headed in the same direction, especially after it was revealed that Amazon’s bias in its AI-based recruitment tool preferred male candidates over females. In a report released the previous year, it was found out that just 15% of AI research staff at Facebook and 10% at Google are women.

Last year, according to new findings published by a New York University research center, biased AI can cause instances of image recognition services making offensive classifications of minorities, chatbots adopting hate speech, and much more. As AI becomes increasingly ubiquitous, now it’s more important than ever to ensure diversity in the development teams creating it or help the IT sector where most the working class is concentrated. Falling so can be catastrophic and unfortunate for the people AI caters to. Hence, nowadays, we can see a subtle shift in the existent norms of the underrepresented community whom AI can aid in breaking gender and color and race barriers. Yes, you heard it right, AI itself can help increase diversity in the IT industry verticals and parallels.

An AI model is as good as the data. Think about Amazon’s disastrous AI recruitment tool. It was working on the ‘assumption’ that male applicants had more experience in technical roles. Therefore it started penalizing resumes that included the word “women’s” as in “women’s volleyball.”  This arose because the training data pool itself was of two-thirds of male resumes. In a ZipRecruiter study, 70% of job postings contained masculine words. This observation was noticed in all industries. However, when wording was changed to be more gender-neutral (using words like support and understand versus aggressive or leader), hiring managers saw a 42% increase in responses. So, AI-powered tools can help recruiters and hiring managers to write gender-less job postings by recommending replacements for gendered language.

AI could also prove a leveler in the selection, recruitment, performance reviews, and remuneration policies. By fostering diversity and inclusion, AI can bring a variety of advantages for the IT companies, which can range from employee engagement to revenue generation. Deloitte says organizations with inclusive cultures are 3x higher performing, 6x more innovative, and 8x more likely to achieve better business outcomes. Moreover, have a diverse team can help a business pay attention to the underrepresented voices in the talent pool.  When candidates apply for job postings for Unilever via LinkedIn, they are asked to play neuroscience-based games that measure cognitive and behavioral traits on a platform provided by technology company Pymetrics. The results are analyzed by algorithms that compare an applicant’s skills with those of employees. Since implementing this approach, the company has experienced a significant increase in hires of non-white candidates.

We also witness the salary gap among genders in several industries. McKinsey and Lean In report that women ask for raises and promotions just as much as men do. In reality, they are 18% less likely to receive those promotions than their male counterparts. AI can assist in salary allocation, fair distribution, and more precise calculation of employee payouts and further analyze and parse market data to recommend competitive salary ranges.

While the socio-cultural stereotypical biases can not be overcome overnight, AI is starting to take small steps to mitigate these challenges. Even though AI has certain pitfalls and isn’t perfect, if applied properly, AI might help bridge the diversity gap we see in IT today. So, the day may not be far when we are a part of a diverse workforce culture.