It is no secret that tech has had a long-standing diversity and inclusion problem. Leadership roles continue to be dominated by homogenous teams lacking diverse backgrounds, while women, people of color, and those belonging to the LGBTQ2S+ community continue to lack representation.
According to a report by Statista, women average only 34.4% of the workforce across big tech companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook.
And when it comes to women of color, these statistics drop sharply: Research shows that just 3% of computing jobs are occupied by African-American women, 6% by Asian women, and 2% by Latinx women.
Diverse tech talent underrepresented and underpaid
Despite accounting for 13% of the U.S. workforce, Black professionals account for 4% of all tech workers. Similarly, Hispanic professionals hold just 8% of all STEM jobs, even after accounting for 17% of the national workforce.
Overall, it’s estimated that only 22% of workers in tech are ethnic minorities.
With fair salary and compensation being a critical factor for top talent, it’s surprising that in many categories, diverse tech talent is still underpaid. Women continue to experience pay gaps in all areas (including maternity leave).
Black engineers are paid significantly less than engineers of all other backgrounds, earning 13% less than white engineers. Even when hired, some may leave, or consider leaving tech jobs due to concerns about feeling unwelcome or uncomfortable at a higher rate than their white counterparts.
And of course, this problem then becomes self-sustaining — the less diversity there is in tech leadership and management teams, the more minority tech professionals will lack inspiration, mentorship and representation, often to the detriment of their career progression.
Now, amid building social pressure, the industry is pledging to take new steps to narrow its persistent diversity gap. Beyond the moral reasons for cultivating a more inclusive organization, experts agree that diversity enables tech companies of all sizes to stay relevant with customers and win at innovation while remaining competitive in a fierce talent market.
According to research by McKinsey, the most diverse organizations are now more likely than ever to outperform their less diverse peers. What’s more, the desire to work in a diverse workplace is among candidates’ top priorities when leaving their current organizations for more inclusive ones.
To bring in diverse candidates at all levels, many organizations are reinventing recruitment efforts. Some initiatives include making remote work the norm and hiring beyond their own borders, striving to eliminate bias throughout the hiring process, and partnering with educational institutions or external organizations that emphasize STEM careers or STEM education.
Developing and publishing a formalized plan with quantifiable goals and metrics to track the results of diversity recruiting and hiring can signal a company’s commitment to the process, and show a willingness to be held publicly accountable.
Now it’s more important than ever for tech companies to prove their commitment to closing the gender and diversity gap in tech. Some companies appear to be responding with more substantial policies than before.
Check out global tech organizations on the VentureBeat Job Board like Microsoft which has poured considerable resources into diversifying its workforce over the past several years.
The company launched the Microsoft Enabler Program in 2020 to improve the employability of people with disabilities through digital skills and corporate training, internships and job shadowing. It now plans to invest an additional $150 million into D&I and to double the number of Black managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders by 2025.
Microsoft also recently partnered with the Milwaukee Bucks, Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers to form a venture capital partnership that will invest in minority-owned firms. Want to work here? Check out all of Microsoft’s current vacancies.
Discover a similar dedication to diversity hire at Apple, which cites 53% of its new hires are from underrepresented minorities including women and people who identify as Black, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.
Apple also offers Diversity Network Associations — employee-led groups designed to foster a culture of belonging through education, leadership programs and networking. The tech giant claims that more than 25,000 employees participate in groups such as Black@Apple, Accessibity@Apple, Women@Apple and more, including faith-based groups. Browse all of Apple’s current job opportunities now.
Leading the way for future workplaces are progressive companies like IBM which prides itself on its inclusive culture. In 2021, over 41% of hires in IBM were women globally, and in the U.S., 15% were Black, 20.1% were Asian employees, and 10.2% were Hispanic.
The company has also committed to dedicating 15% of its first-tier diversity supplier spending to Black-owned businesses by 2025. See all open roles at IBM here.
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