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Diversity, Inclusion & VERTEXThere doesn’t need to be a “business case” for diversity and inclusion. Even if there was no measurable financial benefit, companies should still be doing everything they can to identify and hire talented candidates of all backgrounds, to build a supportive community that recognizes and engages all employees, and to break down the remaining barriers to the hiring and advancement of people from underrepresented groups. As employers, it is our responsibility to make sure that our recruiting, hiring, mentoring, and promotion practices are fair and accessible to all.

The Business Case for Diversity

Recent studies have shown that there is, in fact, a “business case” for diversity. For one, a diverse company has been shown to be more innovative. Heterogeneous teams are more likely to generate new ideas as there is an inherent friction when people approach a task from different viewpoints. In the end, diversity allows a company to break out of the insulated echo chamber that can sometimes form when all decision-makers are from similar backgrounds. Fresh perspective is needed to challenge the status quo.

Diverse companies have also been shown to be more profitable. A McKinsey & Company study presenting data from 2017 showed that companies with high gender diversity on their executive teams were 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than less diverse companies. For ethnic and cultural diversity, diverse companies were 33 percent more likely to outperform less diverse companies. 

Benefits of Diversity & Inclusion

Even with those significant benefits, it is also clear that companies cannot assume that diversity and inclusion will just organically happen without effort. Although we are seeing an improvement over time, there are still numerous barriers that limit diversity and prevent full inclusion in the workplace. We all need to take a hard look at our unconscious biases, our hiring outreach efforts, our employee benefits, and our mentoring practices to make sure that we are continually building diverse teams and creating a company culture that supports them. 

Diversity & Inclusion at VERTEX

At VERTEX we take these issues very seriously and are challenging ourselves to improve our diversity and maintain a truly inclusive team atmosphere. VERTEX has always been an entrepreneurial company and holds onto that spirit throughout the huge growth and expansion of the business. As we plan to continue this trajectory, we need the top talent, fresh ideas, and happy employees that thrive in a diverse environment. 

“The truth is that good managers are scarce, talent is always rare and you better use every bit of it that you can find”
– Warren Buffett, speaking about women in the workforce

VERTEX’s diversity committee meets bi-monthly to guide overall diversity and inclusion efforts for the company and to advocate for the different experiences and priorities of all employees. Specific programs that are currently underway include:

  • Women’s Resource Group – We hold monthly calls to educate all employees about the issues women face at work, provide training to promote career development, and offer mentorship support to the next generation of female leaders.
     
  • Recruiting – We are attending conferences and career fairs chosen to make sure our applicant pool is as diverse as possible. We are also partnering with HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) by posting our job opportunities and reaching out to their career services offices. Come visit us at the University of Maryland Eastern Shores (UMES) Career Fair in Princess Anne, Maryland on October 4th or the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Fall Regional Conference Career Fair in Danvers, Massachusetts on November 17th and 18th.
     
  • Education and Outreach – We will be attending the upcoming Women in Construction Conference in Washington DC on October 19th. Mark Degenaars, Managing Director for the Construction Consulting vertical, will be speaking on a panel entitled Expansion of Women In Construction ‐ A Man’s View.
     
  • Support for Families – VERTEX offers paid family leave to allow parents to spend more time at home with a new child.

Reversing years of societal trends keeping women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups from having full representation in the AEC field will take time. As we build that diversity, breaking down the implicit biases that we all have will take awareness and conscious effort to overcome. At VERTEX, we are committed to building and continually supporting a family of the best and brightest, regardless of age, gender identity, sex, race, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that should never hold people back from a fulfilling and successful career.  

Whoever you may be, if are looking for a challenging position at a top AEC firm and have the talent and drive to join our exceptional team, we welcome you to apply for a job

Author

Jessica Fox, PE

Vice President of Operations, Environmental