Diversity Tracy Quinlan Associate Director itContracting

itContracting’s Tracy Quinlan: Employers Should Focus on Inclusivity Instead of Diversity

The Executive Institute’s ‘Women In Leadership’ event delivered yet another powerful call to action for women to take up more leadership positions.

As the spotlight continues to focus on diversity within the workplace, events like last week’s ‘Women In Leadership’ will continue to highlight the disparity within the workplace for female workers.

According to European Commission’s Eurostat report, 18.7% positions were held by women in senior management positions in 2018.

Closer to home, the Irish IT industry continues to struggle with:

  1. Severe talent shortage
  2. The growing disparity in gender diversity

With over 20 years’ experience in the Recruitment and Team Management industry, our latest addition to the itContracting team, Associate Director Tracy Quinlan has developed an innate understanding of organisation structures and people management.

This week, Tracy explores how workforces can enhance diversity by focusing less on how diversity their workforce, and invest more energy in driving inclusivity:

The Difference Between Inclusivity & Diversity

Within workforces, diversity tends to place focus on perceived differences whereas inclusion is more deliberate approach to welcome and embrace all people regardless of gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity. Of late, there is a more positive appetite to become inclusive as employers rather than ‘addressing’ diversity, which is a positive move within organisations.

Irish IT Workplace Disparity Concerns

In Ireland, we are experiencing greater diversity gaps within the IT industry, particularly regarding gender balance concerns. This is widely debated within recruitment circles and there are some initiatives within schools to combat this at the source.

A recent survey by Microsoft MSFT reported that within the European demographic, girls become interested in STEM subjects at 11 years of age, however quickly lose interest at 15 years.

Yet, employers who wish to address this must be mindful how they do this, without incurring positive bias towards women during the recruitment process.

How to Encourage Workplace Inclusivity?

At a recent CIPD Event, Country Director of the Irish Centre for Diversity Caroline Tyler encourages employers to get creative on this matter. Often the natural lack of women in the IT sector reflects individual cultures and also the recruitment approach.

Inclusive recruitment strategies can be effective; carefully crafted job specifications and requirements can also help to promote more balanced applications. Employers are driving positive action recruitment by offering flexible working, while tailoring job descriptions to appeal to the wider audience, with less emphasis on the level of tech required.

Internal progression and support strategies to encourage more females into key roles is paramount.  She advises a two-prong approach to ensure sufficient internal IT training which can widen the lens when receiving applications. Providing relevant unconscious bias training for key decision makers, coupled with gender balanced interview panels can also help address this issue.

Inclusivity Initiatives, Supports & Best-Practices

The right person for the job must always prevail, however positive action recruitment strategies can further open the market to promote opportunities for all.

Remote working helps to promote inclusivity regarding difficulties with physical disabilities and also addresses commute, childcare and location barriers to encourage the wider market reach for suitable candidates.

Inclusion Ireland provides support to assist on drafting policies in line with Government initiatives towards workplace inclusion.

The 30% Club Initiative promotes gender balance at all levels, particularly on boards and executive leadership and is a hugely positive initiative. Blended balance and varied perspective at board level is a necessary change to implement positive cultures from the top of all organisations and is a particularly progressive move at senior/board level.

As a country, we’re not there yet but we are making encouraging moves to develop a more balanced workforce across all sectors and at each level.


About Tracy Quinlan

Tracy is the Associate Director for itContracting, responsible for our growing team of experienced IT recruitment consultants. Tracy has gained significant experience within the recruitment industry, most recently as Operations Manager at Morgan McKinley. She holds a CIPD Diploma in HR Management; MMI Certifications and earned a Masters Degree in Business from the Irish Management Institute. A former entrepreneur, Tracy established and ran a successful recruitment business, Evolve Training & Recruitment. Her broad experience across the Public and private sector includes roles in People Management and the delivery of training programmes. Her well-rounded background delivers a strong blend of value-add experience to itContracting’s strategic growth.