Why Diversity is Crucial to Solving Your Microsoft Cloud Skills Gap

Diversity is no longer a backseat issue for businesses. In fact, the business case for diversity in the workplace is more obvious than ever. In this article, we’ll break down why diversity could be the key to finding great Microsoft talent and why.

The benefits of diversity

McKinsey’s “Diversity Wins” is a deep dive report on diversity and inclusion in business, which found that diverse companies are more likely to financially outperform their peers.

It also found that businesses with better representation of women and greater ethnic diversity were much more likely to outperform less diverse businesses.

In short, as the report’s title suggests, diverse companies are winning. And when it comes to fostering diversity in Azure and Dynamics 365, the benefits are even more fruitful.

And here’s the rub – your competitors are using diversity to gain an edge in the marketplace…as diversity is already a key priority for top Microsoft cloud partners and end-users.

Why diversity in tech is important

Clearly, diversity in tech is not something the sector has been great at – historically speaking. We know that finding tech talent is tough, let alone diverse talent.

In fact, in LogicWorks’ Cloud Transformation survey, 63% of IT decision-makers say it’s harder to find a qualified engineer than it is to find Bigfoot.

This is a big problem when it comes to implementing Microsoft Cloud solutions effectively. A whopping 86% of IT leaders cited a shortage of cloud talent as something that slowed down cloud projects that year, the survey found.

So not only is the skills gap waging a pricey war on talent, but as a sector, we’re also missing out on the creativity and innovation that a diverse team brings.

Just look at the UK as an example of the lack of diversity in tech. Only 19% of women are in tech roles, according to the BCS Chartered Institute for IT, and only 2.6% of tech leadership positions are held by people from ethnic minority backgrounds, Colorintech found in its report.

By making it more accessible for people from diverse backgrounds to make a career in tech, we can drive diverse Microsoft Cloud talent into the industry.

As a cloud talent provider specializing in diversity, this is in our DNA as a business. We train talented, diverse candidates in software such as Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365 and deliver them straight into our clients’ pipelines. This is not just about companies gaining technical skills; this is also about creative skills and fresh perspectives, which only comes from building diverse teams. 

With that in mind here are 4 reasons why diversity can be the “secret sauce” for solving your Microsoft Cloud skills gap.

4 ways diversity can improve your Microsoft Cloud skills gap

1. Focusing on diversity can help you find talent more easily

There’s a wealth of talent just waiting to be tapped into – if you know where to look. By reassessing common assumptions, like whether a University degree is really necessary for a role, or whether an employee has to be in the office 9-5, five days a week, you can open up possibilities for new talent.

For example, flexible working particularly benefits women, who tend to still take on the lion’s share of caring responsibilities (or at least, more often than men do). Businesses with a diverse talent pipeline can find talent in places that their competitors wouldn’t even look, which means they can save money on bidding for talent and also find talent more easily.

And that’s just from expanding your horizons when it comes to gender; people with disabilities, from ethnic minority backgrounds, or who are LGBTQIA*, are typically given fewer chances to enter to stay in this industry, despite being just as qualified. By opening the door to people from a greater range of backgrounds, you’re making the sector a better place – all while improving your own hiring prospects.

In our office, where over half of the management team are women, employees can choose whether they work remotely or come into the office a few days a week. We also have flexible start and finish times to accommodate people’s schedules. This can help to attract and maintain diverse talent.

You can also work with cloud talent partners who can recruit and train diverse Microsoft Cloud talent for you, to deliver straight into your pipeline.

2. Diverse teams serve their customers better

Diverse teams have a broader range of backgrounds and opinions and can help you connect with a more diverse range of customers.

Let’s face it, we live in a diverse and globalized world, and an organization with a tech team that is a fair representation of the society they operate in is going to be able to meet their needs better.

Forrester’s Customer Experience (CX) Index found that in order for companies to connect with their customers, they need empathy. A diverse team is better placed to achieve this, as they better reflect the diverse society we live in today.

It may also help you to reach demographics that you hadn’t before. For example, having a disabled worker in your team will give you better insights into the wants and needs of a customer with similar disabilities.

On the flip side, the risk is that if your team does not contain a fair mix of women, people from ethnic minority backgrounds, or people with disabilities, the chance of making a potentially fatal business error (at least in the eyes of your customers) increases massively.

For example, Android phones failed to recognize black people because their development team was primarily white – which was a huge blow for the reputation of their business.

3. Diversity helps your business innovate better

As a company, we truly believe that great minds don’t think alike! The Harvard Business Review found that cognitively diverse teams solve problems faster. And, according to this Deloitte report, ‘when employees think their organization is committed to, and supportive of diversity and they feel included’, they report an 83% increase in innovation.

Organizations like American Express identify the link from feeling included to creativity and innovation. In fact, thanks to its Employee Network Scheme, it was crowned the winner of this year’s Digital Revolution Awards, which celebrates champions of diversity within the cloud.

Others made an outstanding contribution to the Microsoft Ecosystem, like Generation Singapore. When the pandemic lead to job losses and a critical skills shortage in the tech community, the firm trained local talent and secured Government funding to place 1,000 Singaporeans with Microsoft partners and customers.

4. Diversity can help you save money and boost profitability

With a diverse talent solution for Azure and Dynamics 365, you can opt-out of the expensive bidding war of elusive Microsoft Cloud talent.

In our case, Revols (our Microsoft certified talent) are contractually tied to Revolent, which means competitors using Microsoft Cloud can’t poach them – allowing our customers to avoid expensive bidding wars altogether.

Our solution is cost-efficient, and we can also help you save money indirectly by improving your staff retention rates, and boosting profitability with increased diversity numbers. Revols can be part of our customer’s teams for up to two years, and can stay on at their organization (once their contract with us expires) at no extra cost. It’s not just about meeting quotas and ticking boxes.

By putting diversity and inclusion at the top of your agenda, you can expect to outperform your competitors who are lagging in this area. And, by building a diverse talent pipeline, you’re bridging the pressing skill gap to help utilize Microsoft Cloud solutions, while also creating effective teams and ultimately an effective company.

So what’s next?

Diversity can open up your talent pool and increase the profitability, creativity and innovation of your organization. That’s on top of addressing the skills gap in the Cloud ecosystem.

And, as the cloud is something that anyone can learn, this means you can find great quality talent without breaking the bank, as you can accept upskillers, cross-trainers, and people from all walks of life.

Need to build a more diverse Microsoft talent pipeline?

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