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Exertis increases efforts to drive diversity and inclusion

Channel player keen to increase its appeal across the globe as a diverse and inclusive employer

Exertis Group has rolled out a number of diversity and inclusion initiatives to make it clear that the firm is committed to establishing a diverse culture across the business.

The distributor has set up a diversity steering group, which will have representation from teams across every region, to make it possible to share best practices. The channel player has also given managers a diversity and inclusion toolkit that will make sure change can happen right across the group.

Over the past few years, the channel has increased its action on diversity, with many firms, along with organisations like CompTIA, emphasising the importance of attracting more people into the workforce from different backgrounds.

“A diverse workforce with equal representation supports the development of an excellent, progressive company culture,” said Nick Foster, HR director at Exertis. “The new initiatives have been introduced to ensure we design a working environment that is inclusive and diverse.”

Vishal Chhatralia, global chief digital and marketing officer at Exertis, said the business had already done a lot on the diversity front and had seen the benefits, but accepted that more could be done.

“Where we have more diversity, we see within our organisation that we have better and more non-linear ideas and innovation driving growth. Organisations, irrespective of industry, perform better with greater diversity,” he said.

“A diverse workforce with equal representation supports the development of an excellent, progressive company culture”
Nick Foster, Exertis

“We have made two big strides. One is recruitment: senior roles have been recruited with a greater focus on bringing in new members from diverse backgrounds, with increases in female talent and talent from ethnic backgrounds. Second is our ‘always-on’ education and communication programme focused on the importance of diversity and what we can do as an organisation to better understand and encourage diversity in recruitment, everyday operations and as a leader,” he added.

Some of the steps the firm has taken to help widen its talent net include increasing maternity, paternity and adoption packages, as well as offering flexibility in terms of location and hours.

Exertis is not alone in looking into ways to increase diversity, with technology training provider Mthree launching its Aspire 1000 Scholarship late last year. The scheme will help start the careers of 1,000 people from diverse backgrounds over the next 18 months.

“The tech industry does not currently reflect the racial or gender diversity of our world. This already has far-reaching consequences in terms of equality, which will only become more severe as digital skills become increasingly sought-after,” said David Hanks, senior director at Mthree.

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“By making our own commitment to equitable hiring and development practices, as well as calling on our partners to do the same, we are hoping to lead by example and encourage others throughout the industry to look more closely at what they can do to make a difference,” he added.

Increased diversity and inclusion was among the expectations for 2021 issued by some in the industry in the past few weeks.

Jay Alexander, chief technology officer at Keysight, and Jeff Harris, vice-president of marketing at the firm, shared their thoughts and indicated that they expect science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to help drive the talent pipeline.

“With the increased focus on diversity and inclusion, we will see a hyper-competitive landscape for technology talent,” the duo predicted. “New methods of delivering virtual learning opportunities that level the playing field will be explored and implemented.”

They also hoped that the government would tackle the digital divide, an issue that has been put under the current spotlight because of the need for home schooling.

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