Research Project: Diversity/Inclusion in the Amsterdam Startup & Tech Scene
Aim Capture and understand the status of diversity and inclusion in the Amsterdam startup and tech scene. The research aims to be the knowledge base for future municipal policies and local initiatives which aim to make the startup and tech scene more diverse and inclusive.
How? We interviewed people working in the tech and startup sector understand the status quo, potential needs, and gather insights.
Interviewees Community managers, coding instructors, sociologists, startup founders, business connectors, partnership managers, recruiters, you? Here's what they said:
Here’s simplified overview of what we learned about diversity and inclusion in the tech sector in Amsterdam.
You can find more details of our findings in this medium article "Amsterdam pioneers inclusion in tech"
- Trailing other European Capitals Amsterdam startup ecosystem lags behind in terms of talent in comparison to other European cities
- Lead by Example Diversity and inclusion initiatives only work when leadership is on board, and acts inclusive
- Silent Majority Discriminatory hiring practices continue to disable diverse talent from accessing the job market if recruiters at large recruiting companies lack the backbone to go against managerial orders to obey.
- Fear of Political Blunders People are scared to fuck up, and diversity and inclusion are still vague, or undefined concepts to many. That makes it hard to move forward with certainty.
- Unconscious Bias In theory we all have the same opportunities, effectively the reality looks very different for many people who get thrown off the path because other people make all kinds of assumptions about them.
- Losing out on Talent The math is simple. If you only consider a small talent pool, you are less likely to get the talent you need to innovate. Awareness of your own privileges can help to revise how you approach your talent acquisition, and hiring practices.
- Knowledge Gaps There are plenty of people who simple do not know how to revise their talent acquisition, hiring practices, and their community outreach. They need supporting learning environments for them to step into action.
- Social Narrative Some say if it doesn’t add to profit and takes time, why bother? You should bother because diversity and inclusion helps you to meet needs, and add value to more people’s lives. That’s why.
- Better Products A diverse team can empathise better with a diverse society, and can create products that are relevant for greater society, and less likely to be inscribed with the biases and assumptions of a privileged few.
- Happier Employees You feel at home so you’ll love to come to work and make cool stuff.
The cookie isn’t baked yet. Amsterdam’s startup ecosystem is not matured yet, which offers a great opportunity to consciously shape a diverse and inclusive startup ecosystem. Other matured ecosystems now run into trouble trying to contest power structures and inequalities which have already become part of their workings. Let’s consciously shape the future to prevent trying to counter inequalities when they’ve already become ingrained in the system
The next steps will be to build partnerships to found an organisation which links up existing initiatives, and offers a platform to consciously shape a unique and inclusive startup ecosystem.
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