what quantitative value does diversity bring?

Insight / Project
11627

Insight Project

PRE
Insight
BIO
Consultant
11627more
Aug 28, 2019 51 Comments

I am legitimately curious... as someone who fits in a diversity category, I tend to laugh when it gets brought up so often at events. Always just figured its a marketing buzzword at this point but i have never felt that me being diverse impacted my value to the company at all. After all, it doesnt impact effort, educational standing or mental capacity.

So I want to understand its quantative value more. Is its only quantative benefit for recruiting purposes?

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 51 Comments
  • Facebook / Eng msus33
    Hiring diverse people brings diverse backgrounds and points of view. The key impact for me is being able to make better decisions (and products) because the company will have fewer blind spots.

    As an analogy, consider a group of rich white engineers, equipped with their $3000 laptops and high speed internet, building a features that should work and appeal to people in rural India.
    Aug 28, 2019 5
    • Facebook / Eng msus33
      Exceptions exist everywhere. Don’t become a rule though.
      Aug 28, 2019
    • Facebook / Eng
      JomaTecch

      Facebook Eng

      PRE
      Google
      JomaTecchmore
      @msus33 can you provide a concrete example where bringing diversity helped to improve a product or project?
      Aug 28, 2019
  • Bank of America / Product Quacky
    It doesn't impact YOUR value. People of diverse background and cultures allow you to see issues or solutions from different perspectives, that's the main selling point outside company culture (better talent, retention, etc)
    Aug 28, 2019 14
    • Coinbase 13371337
      You can’t say that diversity of opinion is more important, thats tech and Bay Area wrongthink and you’ll just get fired
      Aug 28, 2019
    • Bank of America / Product Quacky
      You can and should from a risk management perspective.
      Aug 28, 2019
  • Akamai Technologies VmQQ44
    Easy answer... None unless it is diversity of thought.
    Aug 28, 2019 0
  • Microsoft Teslanos
    Progressives prefer to not have quantifiable or measurable performance or success.

    See: diversity, central banking, fiscal stimulus, etc.
    Aug 28, 2019 1
    • Insight / Project
      11627

      Insight Project

      PRE
      Insight
      BIO
      Consultant
      11627more
      OP
      I get that diversity tends to be tied with progressive ideology but I think we have a legitimate question that can be answered without political bias
      Aug 28, 2019
  • Tesla / Eng 🐉⛈
    Potentially could add millions to a company's bottom line, take Cheetos for example: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/27/a-janitor-invented-flamin-hot-cheetos-and-became-a-pepsico-exec.html
    Aug 28, 2019 7
    • Insight / Project
      11627

      Insight Project

      PRE
      Insight
      BIO
      Consultant
      11627more
      OP
      And I totally understand your reasoning for thinking that. I have different point of view in that diversity (on the physical differences) brings little value as an input in solving problems..

      However, I do admit that diverse backgrounds brings more problems and ideas for people to solve.

      But once the problem is known, there is no guarantee that a physically diverse people will come up with a better solution than a team that looks physically the same.

      So the value of diversity lies in possible revenue streams, but not in implementing said revenue streams (I.e. increasing the likelihood of good decisions)
      Aug 28, 2019
    • Amazon nGum87
      I think we are in agreement here. Physical diversity looks like it is being used as a rough-but-reasonable proxy for diversity in lived experience.

      There are some very qualitative parts that cannot be ignored though.
      ( Life would be much easier if everything could easily but quantified but wheres the fun in that?)

      In my day-to-day life, seeing someone from a different walk of life could bring their experience to the forefront of my mind and affect my design (granted, I sometimes work on consumer facing products)
      Aug 28, 2019
  • Bank of America / Product Quacky
    Have you considered doing some research on google instead of coming to blind asking for comprehensive research results. If you're not going to accept our generalized answers without the numbers at least go look for some studies like https://www.cloverpop.com/hacking-diversity-with-inclusive-decision-making-white-paper?utm_campaign=Forbes&utm_source=Forbes&utm_medium=Forbes%20Hacking%20Diversity%20White%20Paper
    Aug 28, 2019 3
    • Bank of America / Product Quacky
      Ita because we've all either done the research or been through a training based on research so it's rare we actually go out and retain it. Because of part of my role I have studies internally saved I use for slides but I cant share those
      Aug 28, 2019
    • Insight / Project
      11627

      Insight Project

      PRE
      Insight
      BIO
      Consultant
      11627more
      OP
      Fair enough.. I have no issue with diversity being promoted.. just the inherent value isn’t as easily seen upfront and I would like to read the studies
      Aug 28, 2019
  • Dropbox chonker
    Although there are pros such as diversity of background, experience, and approach to solving problems, it is primarily a PR tactic to make companies look good IMO
    Aug 28, 2019 1
    • American Express uktg07
      Agreed. A lot of these companies only hire black and Latino workers to do menial work or to be in HR. Hardly in marketing, operations, finance, etc.
      Aug 28, 2019
  • OP, the problem with answering your question is that this is a taboo subject for researchers who would establish such quantitative parameters. There is some research I am aware of in Law about juries with two “non-white-males” (so either females or people of color) reaching better verdicts (as defined by their verdicts being overturned less), but on the whole the subject of diversity is not studied well.

    Why? Well, many people have strong feeling and US in particular has a bad history with eugenics. It is difficult to develop an area of science where your study effectively has to prove that diversity is beneficial in all respects or else your career is in jeopardy.

    This is not necessarily a bad thing, as I said with eugenics the most minute indications of genetic inheritance of a trait were blown out of proportions by people who wanted to reaffirm their own biases. In general we are very tribal and it is dangerous for science to feed our stereotypes (most in our society are unequipped to deal with confidence intervals)
    Aug 28, 2019 1
    • Insight / Project
      11627

      Insight Project

      PRE
      Insight
      BIO
      Consultant
      11627more
      OP
      Oh I understand the studies are completely flawed and thank you for your thoughtful answer..

      I understand finding an honest study would be highly unlikely due to the career consequences..

      But people in this thread have provided interesting discussions. I definitely think there is an inherent advantage to diversity in presenting problems to solve..

      I just do not think that diversity (as we commonly define it) provides any advantage in presenting solutions to those problems. Thus, in task-oriented roles, it provides no value when controlling for experience, known job performance and education

      That is what I would like to see in a study. I see a 30 year old Indian engineer from Stanford having the same value as a 30 year old white engineer from Stanford (assuming work experience is similar)

      But it’s an interesting conversation nonetheless
      Aug 28, 2019
  • Diversity (at least in silicon valley) is about virtue points. Pick any personal attribute (usually race, national origin, sexual orientation, gender) - the less represented they are, the more virtue points you get. Some attributes can earn negative virtue points. Some attribute combinations earn bonus points.

    The points are then tallied to see if management can pat themselves in the back and say they solved the world's problems.
    Aug 28, 2019 0
  • Affirm / Eng whom65
    I suggest you do some googling instead of crowdsourcing from engineers. There is a ton of quantitative research around this issue that none of us has time to read or be familiar with.
    Aug 28, 2019 1
    • Affirm / Eng whom65
      I also suggest you read "Range" by David Epstein. It's about diversity of experience, rather than racial, cultural, or gender diversity. Interesting stuff!
      Aug 28, 2019

Salary
Comparison

    Real time salary information from verified employees