June 25, 2018
Despite its reputation as the innovative, progressive industry of the future, the tech industry continues to struggle to make diversity a priority, according to a new report. A pervasive under-representation of non-white, non-male employees remains a problem across tech, despite assurances from industry leaders that the situation is being addressed.
Thanks to a comprehensive report by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Journalism, we now know that things haven't gotten much better.
The report, based on in-depth analysis of diversity data from 177 tech companies in Silicon Valley released today, focused on gender and racial disparities in the employment numbers of specific job roles across the industry. Let's just say it doesn't paint a pretty picture of the diversity efforts in the tech community.
Diversity in Tech – The Stats
Throughout the report, Reveal points to a number of troubling statistics that prove the tech industry hasn't made much of an impact when it comes to solving their diversity problem. Check them out for yourself:
- 10 large technology companies in Silicon Valley had no black women employees in 2016.
- 3 large technology companies in Silicon Valley had no black employees at all.
- 6 large technology companies in Silicon Valley had no female executives.
- Nearly one third of large tech companies in Silicon Valley had no executives who were women of color.
- White men accounted for about 39 percent of professionals, 47 percent of managers and 59 percent of executives.
- Facebook had 21 times as many women as men in its administrative support jobs in 2016.
- More than half of Apple’s Latino and black employees worked in retail or administrative support.
- Lyft had a higher representation of black workers across job levels compared with its peers. But still, 70 percent of its black employees worked in administrative support.
- Diversity data is only public for 26 of the 177 tech companies in Reveal's study. The other 151 elected to remain anonymous, even the good ones!
The Pipeline Problem
In addition to the woeful statistics above, the report also found that the tech industry's go-to excuse for their diversity problem isn't a good one.
In 2017, “8 percent of professionals at companies such as banks, universities, and hospitals were black, including employees in technical roles. Meanwhile, 4 percent of all professionals in leading tech companies were black,” which means that this pipeline problem is anything but.
“Usually companies feel like it’s more of a pipeline problem, but often, the pipeline has more diversity than the current employee population,” said Carissa Romero, a partner at Paradigm in the report. “And that’s particularly true when you look at race and ethnicity.”
All Is Not Lost
You've got to admit, this looks pretty bleak. However, there are tech companies in Silicon Valley that are making strides in solving their diversity problem. And, thanks to some of the only positive statistics in this report, the light at the end of the tunnel looks a little bit brighter.
- Two large tech companies had more women than men in the executive ranks
- At one large tech company in Silicon Valley, nearly a third of executives were women of color.
Sure, these statistics represent a little less than 2 percent of the report as a whole but it's something. Hopefully, reports like the one Reveal graced us with will help push the tech industry to finally do the right thing.
Read more about the importance of diversity in tech on TechCo
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