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Diversity and Inclusion Survey Results Point to a Still-Growing Channel

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Diversity, Empathy

At the start of 2021, Channel Futures surveyed our readers to gain a deeper understanding of our channel community. It put an emphasis on diversity and inclusion (D&I). 

Last year, we created a coalition of vendors and distributors, analysts and consultants, partners and our own team members. The aim for this group is to serve in an advisory capacity and to bring a diverse set of voices together to address D&I issues. Specifically, the Allies of the Channel Council aims to help us develop editorial content, event programming, community discussion and other initiatives dedicated to advocating for diversity, inclusion and basic human rights.

As we move into 2021, we want to get a truer idea of what the channel community actually looks like. As a way to tackle these efforts, we created a survey that focuses on a range of factors that will help us better promote discussions of equality in the channel, and to amplify a more diverse set of voices. Based on a few initial topline results, here is what we’re hearing from the community.

Survey Results

The survey results underscore the fact that the channel has made definite strides in terms of diversity and racial equity. But it still has some work to do. We asked how inclusive the channel is of underrepresented groups — and the results were interesting. Respondents were fairly evenly split when asked if they are accepting or moderately accepting of people of different race/ethnicity, nationality, age, gender and sexual orientation. Further highlighting the difference in perceptions were the responses when it comes to acts of discrimination in the channel. More than one in five (22%) said they have personally faced discrimination. Another 12% said they have witnessed such acts. The remaining two-thirds (65%) claimed not to have experienced or witnessed any discrimination.

Challenging the Status Quo

This could indicate a potential barrier in terms of challenging the status quo. Indeed, achieving inclusivity and overcoming racial inequality for people of color and other marginalized groups still appears to be a ways off, according to new research from TrustRadius, the business software review site. According to our survey, out of those who have personally experienced acts of discrimination in the channel, 35% reported that it was based on race/ethnicity, 41% on age, 71% on gender, and 21% on sexual orientation. Of those who have witnessed acts of discrimination, 58% reported that it was based on race/ethnicity. Fifty-three percent said it was based on age, 68% on gender and 26% on sexual orientation. 

Diversity and Racial Equity

Diversity and racial equity is a broad concept. It spans everything from race/ethnicity, age, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation and everything in between. Cultivating a culture of inclusivity that addresses the many ways in which we are different is undeniably daunting. According to TrustRadius, the tech sector “may still not be moving at a fast enough pace to significantly combat racial inequality and achieve representation” within its workforce. Companies increasingly recognize the need to pivot and get their “houses” in order. Organizations also are looking to shape up their diversity and inclusion programs and policies. Research shows that companies with more diverse teams outperform those with a more homogeneous workforce. 

Regardless of what the survey results show, it is no secret that diverse and inclusive companies drive innovative results. We will continue to do our part to create an inclusive place for the exchange of ideas and actions. We hope it will help to create a stronger channel.

Be sure to check out the Channel Partners Virtual DE&I-focused session, “The Importance of Creating a Successful Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy,” on March 3. The session will offer insights from Five9 on how they created their program, their goals, and what they learned along the way. This fireside chat will feature Kelli McMillan, channel sales manager-partner advocate; Genefa Murphy, CMO; and Rowan Trollope, CEO.


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