People of color largely remain shut out of the tech industry.
By Luke Stangel
Silicon Valley Business Journal, February 13, 2017 —
Virtually every major Silicon Valley technology company struggles to hire black, Latino and Native American engineers, despite high-profile programs designed to attract more diverse candidates to the hiring pool, a new report says.
Blacks and Latinos make up just 5.3 percent of the workforce at the average technology company — roughly 16 to 18 percentage points behind their representation in the overall U.S. workforce. The disparity is even higher in senior leadership positions in tech, where an estimated 83.3 percent of executives are white, according to a new report from OpenMIC, a nonprofit that advocates for diverse media.
At Apple, for example, 22 percent of the company’s workforce (which notably includes its retail workers) is classified as coming from an “underrepresented minority” group. Yet, just five of the company’s 107 executives are black, Latino, Native American, or are Hawaiian or a Pacific Islander.
While Asians are overrepresented in technology companies relative to the overall workforce, they remain underrepresented in leadership positions, the report says.
“In a country with a population growing more diverse each day, the U.S. tech community is monochromatic, a bastion of white, male privilege,” the report’s authors write.
“People of color largely remain shut out of the tech industry.”
According to one estimate, tech companies spent up to $1.2 billion on diversity-focused recruiting programs over the past five years, but progress has been slow.
Among major technology companies, Atlassian, which has major offices in San Francisco and Austin, has the highest overall proportion of white employees in the U.S., data shows. Nearly three out of four of Atlassian’s U.S. employees are white.
Just two tech companies, Amazon and Apple, report having double-digit percentages of black and Latino workers. Amazon, for example, says 18 percent of its workforce is black and 13 percent is Latino. The report notes both companies fold their warehouse and retail staff into overall employment diversity numbers, and there’s little evidence either company hires diverse engineers at a higher rate than their competitors.
The report called on investors to press companies to tie executive compensation more closely to diversity goals, and engaging white executives to address the leadership gap among minorities.