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Friday, March 13

Diversity

Why are all window cleaners white British males. This a is ridiculous lack of diversity. You should ensure that you choose a window cleaner from a more varied demographic, then we can ensure that this industry doesn't become the sole domain of one sort of person.

That's today's demand. More diversity in window cleaning. All you need to do is be more careful in whom you let at the windows of your house.

While I agree that diversity in any industry is a good idea, the above two paragraphs are clearly a bunch of whining horse shit. The problem is that the suggested solution to the problem - demand more diversity and hire on that basis - is completely divorced from the root cause of a lack of diversity. At least, in my perception of the window cleaning industry around where I live, that's the case. It may be the case elsewhere. Let's look at a situation where what I've just said could be wrong.

Let's look at a city where there are 10's of window cleaners and, for some reason, only the polish window cleaners ever get jobs, while a hoard of non polish people of different genders, sit with barely a window to wash between them, despite being priced the same and having the same window cleaning skills. In that situation, you might say to people "stop being so polish in your hiring decisions, there are other people out there". This I'll call the "Nigel Farage Fallacy" because it doesn't happen... at least it doesn't happen like that. The reason it's a fallacy is that it seems logical to state that if you were in that situation you should act differently, except the situation doesn't exist, so the reason to act differently is invalid, yet bringing it up suggests that people should act differently, which they probably should, but not like that.

It's possible, in some sort of a market where people don't get work, for those people to drop out of the market and, therefore, reduce diversity. So clearly you shouldn't let a fear of diversity stop you from hiring someone worthwhile.

Going back to my initial point, why is whinging about inequality in an industry a waste of fucking time? I'll tell you. No amount of complaining about the lack of diversity is going to get people into the industry. Sure, pure animosity to diversity within an industry will push people back out, but getting them in in the first place is the real issue. Quality will endure.

This is not about window cleaning.

In IT I see virtually no female software developers. I barely see their CVs. I rarely interview them on the phone. I don't think I've had more than one or two women in for face to face interview in over 100 interviews in the last few months. Where are they all? Is it me?

I am busting my nut to find female software developers, because I believe in diversity and I don't think a team should be made of one gender for its own sake.

If I see a female software developer, should I hire her on the spot, then?

NO! That's the last thing I should do.

Every worker should be considered on their own merits. I will hire someone if they're good enough to do the job and if they will work well with everyone else (gender politics not considered, either way). I will not hire them if they're not up to the job.

So what's my solution to the diversity issue, then? I appear to have criticised everyone and offered nothing.

In short, if you're from an unusual demographic for an industry and you want to be in that industry, then go searching for work in that industry. Get in and get good at it. At every level there are opportunities for other people, and nobody should be discriminatory, but equally nobody should be discriminatory the other way either. Get good and get in.

Why are there so few women in IT? Is it gamer gate? No, it's that women are not getting the right encouragement and motivation to get into IT earlier on in their lives. If you have a daughter, get her coding. If you are looking at University, get technical. If you're a female looking at IT, ignore the nerdy straight geeks - they're not the only way in.

Whinging will not win this. Get good and get in.

I had a female student intern last year. She was singularly one of the finest most talented software developers I've ever had the pleasure to work with. Be like her.

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