The technology market is a huge industry that continues to grow by the day. Most accounts put the global value of this industry at around $3.8 trillion as of 2016, with over a quarter of the business going to US companies.
Yet, in the midst of all this growth, career opportunities for women and minorities are an existing black-mark on an otherwise positive industry. Over the decades, Silicon Valley and all the other meccas of technology have been ruled mostly by Caucasian men.
Paysa report shows we have a long way to go towards diversity in technology careers
A recent report, conducted by Palo Alto- headquartered Paysa, a platform that utilizes artificial intelligence to provide career and hiring recommendations as well as real-world salary information, revealed that the industry still has a long way to go towards diversity in the technical market. The intensive study of 61 companies and the metrics of 1,143 job titles in this area were used to take a closer look at the state of ethnic diversity in the technical industry as a whole. What Paysa found is disheartening, at best.
- 95% of senior management and director level positions in the tech industry are held by Caucasian men.
- Asian-Americans still typically outearn their counterparts across multiple technology fields, usually due to more education.
- Cities reporting higher rates of diversity, like San Francisco, California and Bellevue, Washington, also offered higher rates of compensation.
Paysa’s CEO, Chris Bolte, told HR Dive, “Gender and ethnicity bias continue to be major issues for companies. Many aren't even aware of their gender and ethnicity bias issues.”
When asked what employers can do to increase diversity measures, Bolte advised, “For companies to get ahead of the diversity curve, the first thing for them to ask themselves is, are they paying their current employees fairly? They should answer this question while considering each employee's unique set of skills and experiences, as well as that employee's impact to the company, regardless of that employee's gender or ethnicity.”
What tech companies are doing to correct the diversity issue
Leading tech companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack, and PayPal have come under fire in the last couple of years in regards to diversity issues. This has prompted many discussions about diversity in a more open forum, such as the Inclusion in Silicon Valley talk that took place in December of last year.
Nancy Lee, VP of people operations at Google told peers that, “Google recently increased its recruitment process to include 300 colleges around the US, up from 70” in an effort to improve diversity in career opportunities. LinkedIn also released Q4 workforce diversity metrics, which indicates that they are taking strides towards diversifying its workforce.
"Working to eliminate gender or ethnicity bias isn't only the right thing to do for companies, it also benefits companies' bottom line as studies report that organizations with diverse workforces are more productive and profitable," Bolte said.
Three factors that most experts in the technical recruitment market can agree have contributed to the overall lack of diversity in high-earning jobs include:
- The pervasive culture of stereotyping certain kinds of people based on gender or race
- An alarming lack of enough minorities and women in STEM educational programs in the US
- An ever constricting pool of qualified tech candidates who have the right qualifications
While it may take time for the first two issues to work themselves out, the final issue can be remedied by tech recruiters.
"When avoiding gender or ethnicity bias in hiring, there are many methods for a company to consider," Bolte said. "Some of the more important ones include having a deep and broad candidate pool from a variety of sources as well as making sure that people with different genders and/or ethnicities are involved in the selection process."
Recruiters can connect with US colleges and universities for locating new talent that includes more diversity. Internships and bringing on contractors from US markets can take the place of outsourcing. There is talent to be found, and recruiters at all tech companies should be mindful of offering non-traditional jobs to those that fall outside of certain cultural “norms’.