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We talked a bit last time about the struggles of the tech industry to be inclusive when it comes to building out their teams with women and minorities. Whether due to hiring based on the "best fit" for a company's culture or a lack of effort to change hiring methods, minority and female employees are severely underrepresented. Black and Latino workers make up only 5% of the tech workforce, and women comprise only 24%.

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Awareness of the issue should bring change to the industry, but companies must first trudge through acknowledgment of their unconscious bias.

How can changes be made in an industry that has a well-established homogeneous history? There are ways!

What can be done about it from the candidate side?

Hold companies accountable. Ask them about their diversity efforts, question them on their hiring practices, and demand that the process of hiring for "company culture" is updated to actually reflect modern culture.

Don't assume. Just because an employer appears to be a boys club doesn't mean they aren't trying to expand their team on the diversity front. Show them that any preconceived notions about the capabilities of a minority in this field are wrong, and that they'd be doing themselves a great disservice to turn you away.

 What can companies do?

Establish blind hiring practices. Have the names removed from job applications – if you don't have a system capable of this, incorporate a step before the hiring manager where someone fields the responses and removes names before passing on.

Address implicit bias head on. Larger companies have either been developing their own bias-busting training or bringing in outsiders to conduct workshops and attack implicit bias head on. Many people don't believe themselves to be biased until training opens their eyes to how ingrained it is already. Exposing the abundance of bias is the first step towards remedying an industry-wide problem.

Expand your recruitment efforts. When companies come to college campuses to recruit, for example, Hispanic and black candidates are more likely to attend a workshop for resume writing or interview preparation than they are to show up for an information session. Tailor your search process to be inclusive of all culture's professional tendencies and you might not miss out on your next great employee.

Make it a priority. The reasoning behind many managers lack of initiative in increasing diversity is simple: 41% say they don't have the time. Or, rather, they can't make the time. Big change won't happen overnight, so make efforts to put diversity at the top of the To Do pile, or schedule in some planning.

Look at the research. Ethically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to earn above-average revenue, and gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to do so. A team that is diverse brings together a different set of skills, perspectives, outlooks, and problem solving.

An industry so focused on innovation should push for fresh ideas and pay attention to the creative thinking that can be done by a team who doesn't bring the same ideas and life experiences to the table. Diversifying tech will only continue to bring out the best in everyone.

Posted: 5/31/2018 7:00:32 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


An article was published in the New York Times last week titled 'The Top Jobs Where Women Are Outnumbered by Men Named John.' It covers several different fields where men named John (or James, or Michael, etc.) outnumber women in the same positions: senators, federal judges, and even newspaper editors. At this point, many of us are well aware of the imbalance between women and men in positions of power, but it's a shame the article isn't more shocking, right?

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The inequality doesn't stop there – the tech world is notorious for under representing women and minorities, with questionably serious intentions of changing. In 2014, Google was one of the first to release it's diversity numbers, with Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and Yahoo not far behind. They all had similar situations: one-third of their workforce was comprised of women, Asian workers were over represented and holding around one-third of the jobs, with black and Hispanic employees only making up a percentage or two. Their statements: we know this is bad, and we are working to change it.

What are the problems?

Implicit bias. When scientists and researchers at academic institutions were given identical resumes with either a female or male name and asked to consider them as job candidates, they were less likely to offer the job to the female candidate and even offered her, on average, $4000 less in salary than the male candidate. The only difference between the candidates was their name, so it's difficult to argue that the disparity could be related to skills or experience.

This type of bias crosses cultural lines as well, with candidates with white-sounding names being 50 percent more likely to receive a response than those with black-sounding names.

Hiring for a "culture fit." Silicon Valley and the tech world spearheaded the process of hiring someone who perpetuates a unified office culture. To maintain a blurred line between work and play, coworkers are closer to friends, and who are we more likely to hire as a "friend"? Someone who is just like us. Add to this a generous referral bonus for employees to pull from their current network, and there's almost no hope of bringing in an ounce of diversity.

The tech industry's reputation precedes it. Among computer science and engineering graduates with bachelor's and advanced degrees, 26 percent are Asian, 8 percent are Hispanic, and 6 percent are black, but technicaly workers at Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter are 37 percent Asian, 3 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent black.  Underrepresented minorities are more likely to take their technical skills to a business or administrative position, and for an understandable reason. Many qualified minority candidates simply aren't looking in tech because they consider it an unsupportive environment.

The good news is: once aware of this issue, there are things a company can do about it. Suggestions and strategies coming in our next post!

 

Posted: 5/15/2018 1:31:07 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments