Inequality in Tech May be Worse Than We Thought

More gloom and doom about diversity and inclusion in tech, but there are those working to solve.

inequality
(Image: iStock.com/filadendron)

Yes, we know diversity and inclusion in Silicon Valley is bad. However, a new study from OpenMIC  shows the tech industry remains incessantly white and male, despite over a billion dollars invested to create a more diverse workforce.

The report shows a diverse company is a profitable company. Businesses in the top with more racial diversity among its staff have 35% higher financial returns that the “national median in their industry.” Analysts predict that a more diverse tech sector can generate an additional $300-$370 billion per year.

Companies are heeding these financial forecasts as well as calls for diversifying from politicians and thought leaders. The industry’s investment in diversity is estimated at $1.2 billion in the last five years.

Much of this investment has gone to putting money and resources into “diversifying the tech talent pipeline;”providing them to nonprofits and universities.

However, these efforts have seen little yield. Some takeaways from the study:

  • Over the past 15 years, minorities have secured only 1-2% of available tech jobs.
  • Only 2% of tech executives are black; 3% are Latino.
  • Black, Latino, and Native American people are underrepresented in technology by 16-18% more, than compared with their presence in other sectors of the labor force.
  • People of color leave tech at a rate 3.5% higher than that of white males citing “isolation, discrimination, and toxic work environments.”
  • Companies are more prone to address gender diversity than racial diversity. From a quote within the study: “While 78% of companies report gender diversity is a top priority, only 55% report that racial diversity is.”
  • Fewer than 1% of Silicon Valley executives and manager are black.

Yet, there is evidence that the tech industry is determined to keep tackling the issue. Apple shareholders are being asked to vote on a proposal committed to diversifying the company’s executive team and boardroom.

And in his recent meeting with President Trump, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that, in addition to discussing building a $7 billion factory in Arizona that would create thousands of jobs, “It was a good chance to sit down and talk about everything from immigration, tax reform, our position on diversity and women and underrepresented minorities in the workplace,” he told CNBC’s Jim Cramer.