Gender discrimination isn't the tech industry's biggest problem
- While gender may be the tech industry's most talked-about diversity issue, race discrimination may actually be a larger problem, according to a new report from Ascend Leadership. Although the report says that Asian professionals make up a significant portion of the workforce at Silicon Valley tech firms and that two CEOs (Microsoft's and Google's) are East Indian, Asian women are among the least likely to be promoted, Wired reports.
- Women who identified themselves as black or African-American were the least likely to be hired and retained. Their hiring rate dropped 13% between 2007 and 2015. Hispanic women's hiring rate dipped slightly and they were second after Asian women to be denied promotion, according to the article.
- The report's authors, both former vice presidents at Cisco, concluded that race is a stronger barrier to ascending through the ranks at tech firms than gender. Leadership parity for white women rose 17% between 2007 and 2015, but decreased for all other minority groups, according to Wired.
Silicon Valley is already publicly wrestling with gender discrimination allegations. Investors and directors are beginning to assert their influence over pay and benefits decisions, apparently mindful of the higher ROI associated with having diverse leadership.
To deal with this and the brewing race discrimination problem, the industry may have to look to other companies that have had some success with their diversity initiatives.
Some companies, like Accenture, are working their way toward hiring goals focused on increased diversity. Yelp is trying to address the problem with data. Still more are looking at the issue from a culture perspective and trying to identify barriers to inclusiveness.