Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in STEM is paramount to creativity, technological advancement, culture and the overall success of a business. 

But how do we continuously foster a work environment where every aspect of diversity, equity, and inclusion truly thrives? DEI can’t become the new word art we emptily plaster across websites and social channels; it’s crucial that businesses actually invest, implement, and measure it. 

At Virtana, it’s one of our Core Behaviors – behaviors that define what we expect and encourage every person in the company to do. To ensure diversity, we educate leadership teams on the importance of diverse hiring. And diversity isn’t bound to race and gender. It includes experiences as well. Where you grew up, went to school, who you love, how you think, or where you’ve worked all play a part in bringing cutting edge innovation and valuable opinions to the table. 

We post job openings to groups created for minorities and females, such as Women in Technology, to attract diverse candidates. During the interview process, we ensure that there are multiple qualified candidates who also represent a wide range of diversity. By increasing the diversity of our candidate finalists, we have been able to successfully create a highly qualified and diverse workforce. 

We benchmark, set incremental goals, and measure our success in attracting, hiring and retaining diverse talent company wide and across individual departments. We create collaborative environments where the opinions and experiences of our workforce are shared.

1/3 of our leadership team is made up of women, and 38% of the women in our company come from a diverse background, with more than 30% of diverse women in leadership positions at Virtana. 38% of employees, and 32% of our executive leadership team, are racially diverse. In the last 18 months alone, our percentage of female employees has grown from 16% to 26% of total employees. And since April, 62% of employees we hired were diverse.

One of the main reasons we moved to a completely remote workforce was to allow us to hire people across all parts of the world. Without geographical limitations, we can continuously take strides to achieve our goals in creating and maintaining cultural diversity across all departments and levels.

Increasing DEI in STEM careers is a multifaceted effort. It takes the education system, companies, leaders, recruiters, ALL pulling together to foster its growth. And it requires businesses to prioritize it and track the progress to ensure goals are met, not just talked about. Creating an inclusive environment where people feel a sense of belonging can ignite creativity, boost productivity, and even lead to better mental health. 

We can all be a part of the solution to make workforces diverse in all ways. And again I must stress that diversity is much more than gender or race. I truly believe in diversity for disability, sexual orientation, race, gender and of course neurodiversity. 

Let’s work towards diverse, equitable, inclusive hiring. DEI is powerful and I’m proud that we at Virtana are fully invested in making it a reality.  

Kimberly Perryman
Kimberly Perryman

Head of People, Virtana

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