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Breaking down bias: how businesses can leverage data to power diversity

Fintech’s female leaders share how they embrace and leverage data to promote gender equality in the workplace – a true driver of innovation.

Data Analytics

There are a number of steps organisations can take towards greater gender equality in the workplace. They can commit to gender pay equity, implement flexible working arrangements, and provide progression support and leadership opportunities for women to name a few. However, to truly break down bias, the most innovative companies are turning to data.

“The beauty of data is that, in and of itself, it’s not biased. It’s factual,” says Emily Turner, Head of Market Data and Projects at Yieldbroker, the leading Tier-1 licensed electronic trading platform for Australian and New Zealand debt securities and derivatives.

“No two customers will look at data the same way. Remedying this is where interactive, smart technology like Sisense comes into play,” Turner explains.

“Sisense, which provides organisations the ability to infuse analytics everywhere, can help us break down bias because it allows us to give power back to our clients through data – data that delivers bespoke insights aligned with varying types of customers and their ever-growing use cases and data needs.”

Ahead of International Women’s Day (IWD), organisations around the world are checking in and reporting on the progress they’re making towards equality to ‘break the bias’ – this year’s IWD theme. More than simply a time to reflect or a singular day to celebrate women and their contributions, 8 March marks an important opportunity for companies to amplify and reinforce their commitment to women’s advancements.

“The beauty of data is that, in and of itself, it’s not biased. It’s factual.” – Emily Turner, Head of Market Data and Projects, Yieldbroker

In promoting this fairness, equality and justice for women in the workplace, businesses naturally drive innovation. Research provides compelling evidence that diversity is the key to unlocking innovation. Even more, it drives market growth. Two very compelling reasons for business leaders to embrace the power of differences.

“It’s been proven that innovation is cultivated in environments with less bias and greater diversity,” Turner points out. “At Yieldbroker, we’re creating such an environment together with our strategic partners. The more we evolve our skill sets and merge them with those of our partners’ and clients’, the better the outcome for all.”

Yet despite the research, McKinsey’s ‘Women in the Workplace 2021’ report reveals that despite small gains in the pipeline since 2016, women – especially women of colour – remain significantly under-represented across the corporate ladder and specifically in leadership roles. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted.

When it comes to fintech, gender parity is largely attributable to the male-dominated nature of the financial services industry. While there have been significant strides towards equality in the sector in recent years – with female-founded fintechs accounting for 17 per cent of the UK’s total fintech venture capitalist investment in 2020, up six per cent from 2019 – gender equity issues continue to persist.

Isabella Teixeira, Head of Business Operations at Yieldbroker, shares that as a woman who’s been in the industry for decades, things have gotten better but there’s still a long way to go. Fortunately, in her current position, she’s afforded a platform to help drive lasting change in fintech.

“Combating workplace bias is important to Yieldbroker as a progressive, innovative tech- and data-driven business,” Teixeira says. “We’re passionate about our people but also about partnering with clients and other innovative businesses who celebrate and promote diversity.

“We want to ensure we are doing what we can to support the industry as a whole. Talking openly about gender equality and the things we are doing to tackle this issue helps promote long-term awareness and change to lift the industry now and for the future.”

“Talking openly about gender equality and the things we are doing to tackle this issue helps promote long-term awareness and change to lift the industry now and for the future.” – Isabella Teixeira, Head of Business Operations, Yieldbroker

At Yieldbroker, Teixeira shares that there’s an equal 50–50 split between males and females on the leadership team. “This is about promoting transparently into leadership roles, so we can smash through the glass ceiling. It ensures equality as our employees progress through the ranks.”

A recent Harvard Business Review white paper revealed that when done correctly, the collection, analysis and disclosure of diversity data holds the promise of being a powerful lever for change. The fact that several large tech companies, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, have started releasing annual diversity reports that detail their workforce composition is a step in the right direction; a true win for transparency.

Leveraging data to power diversity is a prime way to allow innovation to flourish. However, it’s key for that data to be actioned into meaningful insights. And to that end, simplicity is key.

According to Paul Scholey, Vice President International Sales at Sisense, organisations of all kinds would benefit by embracing the tips below to drive meaningful change with the power of analytics.

Unleash the power of data analytics with these three tips:

  1. Simplify: If your business intelligence and analytics aren’t delivering the promised transformation, it’s because they have become too hard, siloed and divorced from work. Analytics will only become a driving force when data works around individuals, making their jobs easier, not harder.
  2. Transform your approach: In order to realise data-driven transformation, your organisation must change its approach rather than attempt to change the behaviour of your entire workforce.
  3. Infuse analytics everywhere: Infused analytics (sometimes called embedded analytics) is an approach that embeds actionable intelligence into every workflow, process, business application and even internally developed products. These powerful analytics put relevant, actionable intelligence right at the point of decision.

The opportunity of data has never been greater. If organisations want to ‘break the bias’, they’ll manage diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the same rigorous and data-driven ways they manage the rest of their business.

It takes the same amount of planning, feedback and accountability processes that businesses already use in budgeting, product development and to reach sales targets. Data drives targeted action and creates accountability and transparency in these areas. It just makes sense to use it in DEI as well.

Read next: Is the future of investments female?

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