Mistreatment is forcing mostly women and minorities out of tech jobs
- A new Harris Poll found that 37% of workers surveyed who left jobs in tech said they’re leaving those jobs because of mistreatment, according to various media reports. Hardest hit among those making the exodus are women, African Americans and ethnic minorities. The Kapor Center for Social Impact, an organization promoting diversity, partnered with Harris Poll in an online survey of 2,000 people who left their tech jobs.
- The survey identified four categories of unfair practices, including unfair people management involving job assignments and promotions, sexual harassment, bullying and stereotyping. Around 80% of respondents said they faced at least one of those issues.
- The type of mistreatment varied based on race, gender and sexual orientation. One in 10 women polled experienced sexual harassment, African Americans said they faced hiring challenges and LBGTQ respondents reported the highest rate of being bullied.
According to the Washington Post, a tech engineer might earn up to $200,000 a year and enjoy a host of on-the-job perks, but that doesn't give the industry immunity from severe people management problems. This recent study highlights that the industry's challenges extend beyond well-documented hiring bias to retention once hires have been made.
The tech industry claims to have difficulty recruiting and hiring under-represented employee groups, namely female, African American and Latino candidates. Even if tech firms met workforce diversity hiring goals, this new survey shows they would still struggle to retain women and nonwhite hires due to deep company culture issues. A recent spate of high-profile discrimination and harassment lawsuits also highlights how broad this issue extends in the tech industry.
HR must get out in front of workplace claims of bias and mistreatment — but that often means the company has to give HR the resources they need to do their work or even, in some cases, create an HR department at all. Silicon Valley startups are notorious for shunting all HR management to a non-specialist partly out of the belief that HR departments are outdated and unnecessary. But with an increased focus on diversity as a business imperative, especially to close talent gaps, more companies in the industry have been turning to HR to lead the way.