Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) can often be seen as an afterthought. Or worse, a buzzword that is used to make a company sound good but without any teeth. But it need not be. When embraced fully, incorporated into all aspects of a company and its products or services, DEI has the potential to change the status quo. At EarnUp, we endeavor to be part of that change.

We understand, however, that change can be gradual and we will likely stumble many times along the way. Our long-term vision is a more inclusive, connected world. We strive to create this world through our financial products along with how we function as a company generally.

Our responsibility is to our employees as much as to our customers and clients. We work to challenge broken systems through innovative approaches, heterogeneous perspectives, and inclusive practices. As such, we are putting significant time and resources behind our DEI efforts. We have seen successes in hiring, employee satisfaction, and engagement, but we still consider ourselves at the beginning of this journey.

“From recruitment all the way through to product decisions and marketing, diversity, equity, and inclusion must play a role. To change the narrative in society, and particularly in the fintech industry, companies must work daily to build a more inclusive world. I am proud of the hard work the EarnUp team has put in to build out processes and programs that have helped our company improve, particularly around hiring. This is just a small step, the road is hard, and we have not cracked the code. I only hope our efforts can help show ourselves, and others, what is possible.” – Nadim Homsany, CEO of EarnUp

Here is a brief overview of where we are and a hint at where we are going.

Diversity in hiring

According to a recent study, less than 40% of people employed in fintech companies in the US are female. An even smaller percentage of leadership is female. Non-white racial and ethnic groups are significantly underrepresented, particularly black professionals who some estimate only make up about 5% of the fintech workforce.

EarnUp’s internal surveys, where staff self-identified their own racial and ethnic background as well as gender, show we have taken strides toward more well-rounded representation across departments. 48% of all EarnUp employees identify as women, and 60% identify as either non-white or two or more races. In the engineering department, 43% of the team identifies as women and 50% as non-white.

We acknowledge our executive team and board are not representative of the diversity of our company or customers. We are actively working to hire and promote a broader demographic of leaders and team members that are representative of the communities we serve. Our goal is to continue building a diverse employee base while increasing our efforts to do the same at the executive and board level.

Equity and inclusion in the workplace

EarnUp is working to identify barriers that impact not only recruitment but retention and advancement of our employees as well. We strive to create professional opportunities accessible to all.

Part of establishing an equitable and inclusive workplace is ensuring everyone within the company is aware of how biases – both explicit and implicit – affect company culture. We have held several trainings over the course of 2021 on topics such as “What is Gender?” and DEI education and training sessions ” to provide context for the issues we are facing. In addition, employee-led discussions on topics such as gentrification in the US provide our team the opportunity to better understand one another as well as our customers.

EarnUp plans to deepen its cultural understanding and sensitivity by continuing to engage meaningfully on these topics. Leadership has purposefully created opportunities for employees to discuss issues related to equity directly. Our team has already felt the difference with 80% of internal survey respondents stating they see strong leadership support for DEI efforts.

DEI activities and programs are allocated a quarterly budget in order to ensure these efforts continue.

Support for our customers and community

At EarnUp, we want to elevate, empower, and, most importantly, listen to diverse voices from society. Our desire to foster financial freedom can not be achieved in a vacuum. Of particular importance at the moment is our support for the Black Lives Matter and Stop AAPI Hate movements. We are taking direct action in this regard, focusing our company on fair lending practices and equal opportunities to build wealth for black communities. In addition, we are partnering with banks, lenders, and other financial institutions that positively impact black communities.

As a company whose product is used by individuals from all income levels and all backgrounds, we consider customer needs and desires at every step. A recent survey of customers showed that 40% of our customers are non-white, and almost 25% of households make less than $75,000 a year. By engaging deeply in communities, particularly those that are underrepresented in technology companies, we can make EarnUp not only more inclusive, but more useful. By creating a product that helps individuals become debt free and supports wealth accumulation, we hope to open doors for our customers that lead to a fairer and more just society.