Inclusion through technology

Talent at your doorstep

Did you know that Germany is the second most commonly migrated to destination worldwide? And for people from foreign countries, it can take up to  3 years to feel comfortable with the culture, the language and to construct a proper career? It is widely known that Berlin has a vibrant start-up scene and an ever-expanding tech industry. To make use of this high potential market, social companies focus on supporting entrepreneurial-minded refugees driven by embedding themselves in the tech- and digital industry.

The core issue when talking about diversity in companies is the thought of including as many different nationalities and cultures as possible. This is good, however, that’s not what it’s all about. Companies are promoting themselves as being highly diverse with their 20+ nationalities which make up their team, but they aren’t hiring diverse local talent such as the Arab and Turkish communities which can be found right on their doorstep. The majority prefers experts coming from abroad, otherwise, the unconscious bias quickly appears in interviews when the recruiter recognises the native language barriers or asks about the candidate’s background.

Take the example of ReDi school

A great example of integration is a non-profit school in Berlin that offers free tech courses. By trying to fill the talent gap in Germany’s digital and tech sector, they are supporting migrants and refugees to kick-start their work-life in a different country.     

Anne Riechert, moved from Denmark to Berlin in 2012 and set up the Berlin Peace Innovation Lab together with the Stanford University. After encountering a lot of refugees, she recognised that they wish to discover the opportunity to be financially stable and independent. As the tech industry lacked technical talent and had a lot of potential in Berlin, she decided to found ReDi school which helps to guide refugees gently into the tech industry by teaching them required tech skills.

According to a conference paper of the Project: Digital Integration: The Role of Technology in the Social Inclusion of the Refugees, after joining the courses at ReDI School in March 2019, 87% of 81 participants found a successful way into the work-life, may it be through internships, a professional work function or even starting their own business. The teachers are volunteering which provides the opportunities to offer free courses. The received funds are then spent on, location, equipment and for the school team. 

The COO explains, "For us what contributed more to the integration is the network that we provide. The students are sitting together with teachers in a non-traditional educational environment. Usually, the teacher is someone who is inaccessible. Here, it is very much like a practical learning model, where the teachers and the students are on the same level, and they build connections. These teachers are German experts from other countries. The fact of having people from very different background sitting together as equals, it already creates bonds and synergies that you wouldn't find in integration courses."

How refugees can help fill the most in-demand roles

Tech jobs can suit the needs of refugees because the companies are more interested in demonstrated skills rather than university degrees. In this case, it’s more likely that refugees have the required skills rather than a higher education. Education isn’t the be all and end all, especially in a technical environment. Rather, being able to apply skills is what matters.

According to an article from Berlin Start Up Jobs , the continuously increasing startup scene has a lot of high demanding jobs to offer, especially in the fields of:  

  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • IT
  • Research and Development
  • Engineering    
  • Design, UX, and UI

This means that new talent could fill the following roles:  

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Data Science and Analytics
  • Data Engineering
  • Data Visualization
  • Cybersecurity
  • … and a whole lot more!

In the field of IT and software development, job possibilities are almost endless. This makes it a fantastic option for diverse talent and those new to the digital world, giving them the option to learn interesting skills and to become a specialist in their field.

Fostering a more inclusive culture through social change

As a recruitment company and huge supporters of diversity, equity and inclusion, we often face questions like: “Should you ignore qualified candidates in the name of diversity?” and “What if candidates from other cultures don’t suit my company’s internal culture?”.,

But of course, we are not suggesting ignoring qualified candidates. It’s rather about looking at a “culture add” rather than the “culture fit”. Only accepting people who fit into your company culture leads to a very homogenous team, but focusing on bringing on board people who can add something new such as their experience and knowledge of a different work and life culture to your own can in turn help promote innovation, provide a different way of problem-solving on a more culturally diverse scale.  

To make sure the amazing talent and personalities amongst the refugee communities right on your doorstep can be utilised in a way that helps everyone, follow these guidelines:  

  • Focus on the needs of underrepresented groups and provide support, training, and resources
  • Announce your job search on platforms or in places that are accessible for people who don’t speak your language fluently or don’t have free access to technology
  • Provide trainings to your managers on the topics of unconscious bias and inclusive leadership
  • Take care of cultural aspects, offer people the freedom to express their religion and make space for their national bank holidays

The tech industry helps to connect all of us, and Berlin offers various facilities to learn the required skills, especially for internationals. If you are interested in finding diverse talent, feel free to reach out to us! We value diversity and inclusion and focus on supporting every individual who wants to boost their career.