Diversity: Talking Point Or Actionable Step In Tech?
The tech industry in the U.S., and the world by extension, is by far one of the most financially rewarding, both in wages and investments, profits, and returns. Considering, however, that wages in tech are two times higher than the national average, discussions about diversity have taken center stage, as recent findings reveal that most tech executives are white and male.
With this recognized need for diversity, Netooze has reviewed research that covers employment data for over six thousand tech firms with a collective of more than 2.5 million employees and found that despite expressed intentions, more than 80% of firms examined have done little to actualize diversity within their workforce. Interestingly, this slow trek towards diversity is observably slower in the tech industry.
While 80% of firms dragged their feet on diversity, the remaining 20% in the data analysed proved a slight deviation from the norm, though not particularly praiseworthy. In 10% of those firms, there were noticeable increases in diversity, with Asian women being represented in that group. This positive push, however, also saw an increase in white male prevalence, which coincided with the displacement of Asian men from that group, even as smaller minorities trickled in.
In the technical labor force, positively, we observed a decline in white male dominance by a quarter, as they were replaced with mainly white and Asian women, with black and Hispanic men and women noting progress. At the executive level, despite largely unimpressive changes, we did note a 5.9% drop in white male executives – a change which was underscored by noticeable increases in the rise of other groups, Hispanic women included. Unfortunately, these changes are not entirely deliberate and are predominantly a result of largely external pressures to be diverse, rather than the result of an internal drive to accomplish such.
Further perusing the data, Netooze found that firms with diverse managers tend to hire a diverse labour force. Contrastingly, firms with strong executive diversity did not positively correlate with the diversity of the professional workforce.
It appears that a, sure enough, way to encourage diversity in a real way, beyond simply succumbing to external pressures for the same, is to diversify those at the managerial level. In turn, a diverse workforce is sure to yield a number of benefits. With low inclusion being one of the boulders weighing tech down, it does not bode well for the future that, according to the data, most tech firms are regressing on that front. While more should obviously come on board, there are a few firms that are commendably carrying the torch of diversity, beckoning others to follow.
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