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As
businesses increasingly realise the value of a diverse workplace, initiatives
are being developed to encourage the fusion of opinions and ideas that come
from people of varying backgrounds. With fresh, creative ideas from a whole
host of perspectives, businesses are able to deliver improved customer experiences,
and ensure employees are continually engaged.

In
fact, management consultancy, McKinsey, recently published a report
around the benefits of a more diverse workforce. It found that companies with a
more varied team are 33% more likely to outperform their competitors. But diversity
is nothing without inclusion – diversity is giving people a seat at the table,
while inclusivity is giving them the encouragement and opportunities to find
their voice.

With
this in mind, it is more important than ever that, as the world becomes
increasingly technology-focused, enterprises have diverse and inclusive
workforces that can tackle the myriad of challenges presented to them on a
daily basis.

At
Equinix, we aspire to facilitate an abundance of innovation and progress by
having a diverse working environment – it is this kind of workforce that harbours
business growth by not only keeping our customers happy, but also by encouraging
an inspiring workplace environment, and thus, increasing productivity. We have
a little something called The Magic
of Equinix
– an uncompromising set of beliefs we stand
by, that has always been built upon inclusion and ambition.

Leading the future

In
the technology industry in particular, engaging the next generation can be a
challenge. Each year, the UK is short of 40,000 science, technology,
engineering and math’s (STEM) graduates and, in November 2017, the UK
Government’s Industrial Strategy
revealed
that 40% of employers reported a shortage of STEM skills as being a key barrier
to recruiting staff.

The
STEM skills gap has wide reaching implications. If it continues to grow at such
a rapid rate, it will impact the speed at which we can adapt to technological
advancements. For example, the Government estimates that utilising and mastering
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology could add £630bn to the UK economy by
2035. For this to happen, the STEM skills gap needs to close. This can happen,
but it requires engaging young people at an early age – ensuring they are
enthusiastic about STEM subjects and given the right tools and support to
explore them further.

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At Equinix, our employees are involved in initiatives that actively encourage young people aged 12-18 to harness their interests in studying STEM subjects. The company operates a student mentoring scheme, work experience opportunities and ‘world of work’ days, providing an opportunity to explore the wealth of careers on offer at Equinix – and the broader data centre industry – and what it’s like to work in the constantly-evolving and exciting technology sector.


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Balance for better

As
part of a company-wide effort to support a diverse working environment, we
actively encourage our employees to invest time in supporting initiatives that
empower colleagues across multiple protected characteristics, including: race,
ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, generation,
disability, personality type and style of thinking.

Gender
diversity, for example, is something we are consistently striving for in the
workplace. As such, we have several initiatives in place to support and
encourage a more balanced workforce. One of these include The Equinix Women
Leaders Network (EWLN), launched in 2011, with the aim of promoting gender
diversity and female leadership, connecting and empowering Equinix women all
around the world. This is being accomplished through numerous events and
initiatives, with the creation of office events and with EWLN ambassadors
driving meaningful dialogues, building leadership skills and promoting a
collaborative working environment.

And,
in honour of International Women’s Day earlier this year, the Equinix team
embraced the ‘Balance for Better’ theme, encouraging women to take a stand to create
a more gender-inclusive workforce. The lack of female voices in businesses is
more than just a women’s issue – it is also a business one. Leaders need to be
creating an environment where women can aspire to reach their full potential, with
the right support and equal opportunities helping to guide them towards
success. And this should be the case wherever they may be; whether in a
courtroom or classroom, women should have the confidence and self-belief to put
forward their ideas and share their expertise.

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The
solution really is quite simple – with a company’s buyers being both men and
women, it should be the case that their engineers, sales team, marketers and
executives reflect this, with services that target and appeal to all audiences.

Being yourself

Recently,
startling statistics announced by Vodafone
and Out Now
, revealed a need for businesses to make
LGBTQ+ diversity a priority. This research
suggested that 58% of young LGBTQ+ people have avoided being open about their
sexual orientation or gender identity at work, through fear of facing
discrimination from managers and colleagues. 83% also said that visible signs
from managers that they take the inclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals seriously, are
important in creating a work environment that makes them feel comfortable to
express themselves openly.

At
Equinix, we aspire to this kind of work culture, where our employees feel
secure, respected and confident. Our LGBTQ+ employee connection network is
promoting this, by creating a trusted and comfortable space for individuals to
express their identity freely and openly.

Creating a connected world

A fundamental tenet of diversity and inclusivity is that anyone should be able to find opportunities to progress and succeed, regardless of who they are.

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