Diversity, Inclusion & Corporate Social Responsibility, 2018
At Voxbone, we believe success is impossible without a diverse, representative and engaged workforce. If variety is the spice of life, we try to ensure this is a very spicy place to work. We're proud of our cosmopolitan outlook and the international flavor of our team. As specialists in global domination through communications, it couldn't be any other way.
This is our first annual Diversity, Inclusion & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report and we've learned a lot from the process of creating it. Already, we have set objectives to expand its remit next year and run a survey of our staff to get a full picture of their views on these topics. For this first iteration, we've focused primarily on gender and the number of nationalities represented across our workforce, as these are issues about which Voxbone's senior leaders feel very strongly.
Given the state of the industry, bridging the gender divide is an area where tech as a whole has plenty of work still to do. Despite making up 50% of the US population, women are still under-represented at the largest Silicon Valley firms, particularly at the leadership level where they make up just one in ten execs.
Our objectives with the creation of this report are to assess the current performance of Voxbone in the areas of Diversity, Inclusion and CSR. For the year ahead, we intend to:
- 1. Continue encouraging a diverse workplace across our offices
- 2. Ensure an inclusive environment regardless of gender, race, age, sexuality or disability
- 3. Promote CSR initiatives around employee health, wellbeing, environment and charity
State of the industry
Tech companies are always quick to tell us how the products and services they build will “transform” and “revolutionize” our lives. But one thing often overlooked, that companies across the industry need to come together to improve, is the diversity of people working in tech.
The fact that not enough women are entering tech can be traced to a young age. Just 17% of Computer Science BA recipients were female in 2014. More alarmingly still, that’s down from 37% in 1985. Experts have blamed gender inequality in the workplace, a lack of female role models and a culture that has, for complicated reasons, become male-dominated – despite the fact that the earliest software engineers were often women, going all the way back to Ada Lovelace.
But while the biggest names in Silicon Valley are unanimous in their calls for the creation of more diverse workplaces, little real progress is being made at many of these firms – and the fact remains that women make up half the US workforce as a whole, but hold between just 20% and 25% of tech jobs, depending on the research. That figure only drops as you move up the pay scale, with a mere 14% of executive positions in Silicon Valley held by women.
It is also disappointing to see that the quit rate for females in high-tech companies is 41%, significantly larger than the 17% seen among men. Perhaps the most disturbing thing about these statistics is the lack of impetus at senior management level to really change them.
In fact, a 2017 survey of nearly 5,000 CIOs from 86 countries, conducted by Harvey Nash/KPMG, revealed little positive recent change in the number of women holding leadership roles, despite a third having diversity initiatives in place. Nearly half (44%) of the CIOs questioned said they were happy with the diversity mix in their organizations’ tech roles.
"At Voxbone, we pride ourselves on bringing in the perfect person for any role, with the right mindset to fit into Voxbone's cosmopolitan culture."
Aside from the 35:65 female-male gender split seen across our workforce as a whole, men account for two-thirds (66%) of the management team, with women holding the remaining 33% of positions. At the leadership level, 29% of our executive team is female.
These figures put Voxbone in line with the US (34%) and ahead of the UK (17%) tech industries in terms of female representation, not to mention ahead of most major Silicon Valley companies at leadership level and across the workforce as a whole. Looking at new hires in 2017 and 2018 to date, Voxbone has significantly scaled up its operations and, as a result, we have grown our workforce by 54.2%.
Between March and August 2018, our workforce increased by 21%. Breaking down the company’s growth across 2017/18 by gender, we see that 65.5% of new hires have been male and 34.4% female – slightly ahead of the current overall gender split in our workforce.
Encouragingly, across Voxbone leavers in 2018, 39.1% have been female to date and 60.9% male. This means the quit rate for females is currently just 15.5% this year, which is a significant improvement over the 41% seen across high-tech companies in the US as a whole.
Moving away from gender, Voxbone’s workforce comprises people of 34 different nationalities, emphasising the rich ethnic and cultural diversity on display across our global offices. These nationalities are: American, Australian, Bangladeshi, Belgian, Bolivian, Brazilian, British, Bulgarian, Cambodian, Chinese, Czech, Finnish, French, Greek, German, Indian, Indonesian, Irish, Israeli, Italian, Mexican, Moldovan, Moroccan, Pakistani, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, South Korean, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian.
Factoring in dual nationalities, this figure would be even higher. The average age of Voxbone’s workforce is 33.4 years.
How we approach new hires
We are proud of the fact that we exceed tech industry averages for diversity and inclusion without the need for specific hiring policies. According to the Harvey Nash/KPMG survey, 31% of high-tech companies have diversity initiatives in place. However, our approach has always been to hire fantastic people first and foremost, without being conscious of the actual gender balance in our workforce or management team.
Of course this doesn’t answer the question of how we got where we are, and that’s something we intend to take a closer look at this year, as part of our ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts. But one possible reason we have more women than typical for a tech company in leadership positions is that we are not afraid of hiring women who are at the age where they may wish to start a family.
We do not see this as a risk of disruption and wish to encourage women and men equally to find a healthy work/life balance, while remaining ambitious in our objectives and targets. All of our executive team are parents and this helps to enforce a family-friendly culture that proliferates throughout the company.
Similarly, the reason we’ve accrued employees from so many nationalities is that we are attracted to people who are different – the sort who love learning about religions, cultures and countries beyond their own.
This is something that has certainly been helped by the nature of our business. In creating a worldwide network of infrastructure and relations with carriers and regulators in 60+ countries, we deal with people from every corner of the earth and all walks of life.
Anne-Valérie Heuschen, Voxbone’s VP Corporate Affairs, says: “At Voxbone, we pride ourselves on bringing in the perfect person for any role, with the right mindset to fit into Voxbone’s cosmopolitan culture. We are always on the lookout for smart customer-orientated superstars to join our tribe and share in the Voxbone journey.”
Check out our careers page to see our current openings.
Across Voxbone’s offices, we run a number of responsible business initiatives. Some of these are specific to certain office locations, while others are run across the entire company. Voxbone has offices in: San Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles, UK, Ireland, Belgium and Romania.
Our company is run on a cloud business model, which means our carbon footprint is very low, as we do not manufacture, wrap or ship products. Our satellite offices are hosted in shared workspaces run by WeWork that have their own environmental policies in place. Other green initiatives include:
- Bike scheme for employees to encourage them to cycle to work
- Monthly allowance to encourage the use of public transport instead of private vehicles
- Incentivizing the use of electric cars and ensuring availability of designated bays with charging points
- Eco vouchers to encourage green purchases including food
- Employees are encouraged to bring their own coffee cups to cut down on paper cups
- We try to buy local, organic (and fair trade) food and drink for the office
- We receive twice-weekly deliveries of fruit grown locally from a company donating to an association planting trees in Malawi
- Business lunches are purchased from a company that delivers food by bike
- All waste paper is recycled, along with general recycling of plastics and glass
- We encourage staff to go paperless and have switched to electronic payslips for all our employees
- We have launched a drive to rid the workplace of plastic (cups, spoons, etc.)
- We buy recycled printer toner and recycle our used cartridges
- We have replaced flipcharts in all meeting rooms with whiteboards
- We have an office collection point for used batteries
- Coffee grounds are recycled by a company that use them to grow their mushrooms
- Devices including screens are on a timer so that they switch off out of office hours
- Air conditioning in the office is turned off during evenings and weekends
In 2018, we launched our first Health and Wellbeing week with the purpose of encouraging and assisting the physical and mental wellbeing of our staff. This was done through a range of educational workshops, nutritional seminars, physical classes including yoga, Zumba and HIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), postural workshops and the sharing of targeted articles and research.
Voxbone has sponsored several other events designed to improve the activity levels of our workforce, such as the 20 km de Bruxelles fun run, which was run by members of staff in support of our nominated charity La Fleche (see ‘Charitable endeavours’ below). Also, we have submitted teams into several Spartan Races globally and run bi-monthly yoga classes for mindfulness. We order regular deliveries of fruit and healthy food in our offices.
A number of our DIYs (regular team socials) are also designed to encourage activity including a biking day around Brussels and 5-aside football (soccer) games in London.
As well as supporting seasonable charitable events in our offices such as Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day and Movember, we also gave 280 hours in 2018 to a Belgian orphanage called La Fleche, with 35 employees each spending a day volunteering on various tasks for the charity, including renovations, decorations, and the assembly of furniture and toys.
We raised €1,200 ($1,390) for La Fleche through our various fundraising activities, including the brewing of our Voxbeer.
Diversity & Inclusion
This year, we will survey our workforce on diversity to see how Voxbone can continue developing an inclusive atmosphere that is welcoming to all.
A healthy, happy workforce
As well as our first Health & Wellness week, 2018 will see more physical events including a 20k fun run, yoga and pilates classes and healthy snacks and fruit in all our offices.
Giving something back
Each year we assign one day per person to work on charitable initiatives. Currently, we partner La Fleche, an orphanage in Brussels. In 2017/18, 35 employees took part in work to support the charity, including DIY renovations.
Cloud business model, paperless payslips, electricity- and plastic-reducing measures, Voxbone bikes, electric car incentives, public transport allowance, eco vouchers, recycling schemes for printer toner, batteries and coffee grounds.