Tech firm diversity survey marked by conflicting results
- Nearly 80% of tech industry workers said they're satisfied with their company's diversity progress in a new survey by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). And even more workers (87%) said they worked in a department with a diverse staff in the past year. But 45% of workers, in line with a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) report, say that the tech industry remains overwhelmingly white and male, with few women, African-Americans and Hispanics, CompTIA said.
- The survey also found that when respondents were asked if women and men were naturally inclined to be successful in roles that played up traits associated with their gender, nearly half agreed. But among executives and senior managers, 61% agreed with the question. Yvette Steele, manager of CompTIA's Advancing Diversity in Technology community, said in a statement that the dominance of male leaders in the industry might account for upper management's response.
- Most of the survey respondents, nearly two-thirds, agree that an organization with a diverse staff is more likely to to be a world-class innovator. Another 28% of the respondents partially agreed. To improve diversity in the industry, CompTIA established the Advancing Women in Technology community and the program Steele manages.
That a majority of executives who agreed that women and men were more inclined to succeed in roles associated with their gender's traits reveals just how big of a barrier bias can be for employers seeking to do better. HR is addressing this problem in various ways, from training to "promotion flagging."
Companies can improve diversity in hiring, but retention must be addressed, too. A 2017 study by the Kapor Center for Social Impact found that unfair and discriminatory practices drive women and people of color out of tech companies, showing that an inclusive culture must be a component of retention efforts.
Among the advantages of diversity is its link to innovation, according to a study by North Carolina State University. People from various backgrounds and with different experiences drive innovation, and companies where women hold leadership positions reportedly have better financial health.