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Confidence gap holding back potential channel recruits

Industry group CompTIA is working to help overcome some of the issues holding back greater diversity in the IT workplace

CompTIA has been a strong advocate of increasing diversity in the IT industry, encouraging women and ethnic minorities to choose a career in the market.

The industry group has identified a 'confidence gap' that has prevented some people from entering the industry and is determined to overcome those problems.

"There are lots of people who don't realise they can work in the industry because they think they need to have a college degree or be maths and science whizzes but it is a different job to the one they think it is. We have to get them over this confidence gap," said Todd Thibodeaux, CEO of CompTIA.

"Once you get them over that we can train anybody and anyone can acquire the skills to work in the industry but they need to believe they can do it," he added.

Thibodeaux said that everyone wanted to speed up the movement towards greater diversity but it was "not something that can be fixed overnight".

"It will be interesting to see evern years from now because that is when we are suposed to see the mass retirement of the early baby boomers that are going to come out of the industry. That's where there will be lots of opportunity," he said.

"We have to do a better job of positioning what the work is like and why we love it. I have talked before about communicating the passion to kids but we need to communicate it to adults too because they wan to work in a fun, negaging and interesting environment," he added.

He added that research indicated that companies that were more diverse were able to develop better products faster, service customers better and had happier employees.

As well as getting a more diverse workforce the other lesson that the industry can learn is around being open minded about what fresh talent can bring to the business.

"We are making people conform to the norms in a company when they come in and not allow them to be comfortable and be themselves and bring what they bring to the culture. We are forcing people to come and are forcing them to assimilate to the existing culture, rather than making them feel they can add to the culture," he added that the drop-out rate can be high.

"It's sad that when you get them over the confidence gap they go 'wow I don't really want to do this. I don't lik the work environment and the work style'. The companies that are doing it right are retaining people," he said.

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