Cogeco Peer 1’s Jaime Leverton says building diverse companies means re-evaluating hiring

jaime leverton

During a recent TechTO event, Cogeco Peer 1 VP Jaime Leverton explained why tech leaders need to think about building diverse and inclusive companies as early as possible.

Leverton pointed to a recent McKinsey report, which indicated that if men and women participated equally in the economy, it could add $28 trillion to global GDP. Closer to home, McKinsey has reported that supporting more women in STEM could add $150 billion to Canada’s GDP. Today, women make up 27 percent of the ICT workforce, down from 30 percent in 2011.

“To develop companies early that have diversity, that have equal representation, is critically important to fuel success and innovation and balance in our economy in Canada, and ultimately globally,” said Leverton.

Leverton provided tips to help early-stage companies thinking about building a diverse and inclusive company, with hiring at the core of it. She said that technical tasks are becoming more automated, and because of this, emotional intelligence is becoming more relevant than technical skills.

“Really [look] at who you want to bring into your company and into your organization and what they can bring to the talent pool, and what they can bring to the market other than tech skills,” said Leverton. “Because ultimately, those technical skills need to be refreshed on a regular basis, they don’t necessarily correlate to long-term value in our organization as a whole.”

Leverton said that companies can also bring women onto their board, which can provide a role model for other people at the company. “Nobody wants to be the token, and nobody wants to be the first one in thinking that they’re just there because they’re a woman,” she said. “Give them a reason to believe that you’re actually interested in driving innovation and diversity in that conversation.”

See the full talk here:

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Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.

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