Within the past six years, the statistics for diversity in tech have not exactly been staggering. The African American general tech employment rate at Facebook has only increased from 3% to a whopping 3.8% over a five-year span; similarly, Hispanic populations account for only 3% of the tech workforce.
While there is an obvious racial disparity among tech companies large and small, more tech companies are starting to enhance their diversity and inclusion practices in the workplace, after seeing that minorities and LGBTQ+ employees are still underrepresented and face racial bias and discrimination. The only way to fill the tech talent gap is to provide equitable access to tech jobs. By breaking down crippling barriers and making tech an inclusive place we can create major wins for prospective employees, employers, and communities across the globe. Let’s take a deeper look into the tech industry to learn how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
WHERE IS THE INCLUSIVITY?
In order to understand where we’re going in terms of diversity and inclusion, we have to first understand where we’ve been and where we are currently. In 2020, more than 80% of tech executives are white men, and African American men make up approximately 2% of the tech executives. Additionally, the general population of white employees in tech total approximately 63% while Asians, African Americans, and Hispanics are tied around 14%.
With the rise of movements, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, emotional distress in the workplace has taken a hefty rise. Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) are unhappy with the wave of racial injustice that sweeps across the country like dirt under a rug. In awareness of this, companies around the world are changing their practices, policies, and procedures to create a more inclusive work environment––one that is in support of racial diversity in tech.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN TECH COMPANIES
According to the Employer Brand Index (EBI), a measuring tool that gauges company effectiveness in diversity and inclusion, Cisco comes in as the highest-ranking tech company. Cisco’s mission to promote the advancement of women in the workplace, makes up about 40% of their score. The company’s #WomenInTech blog shows how the company is providing a space for minority women to help fuel a more inclusive tech environment for all.
Ranking second on the EBI is Microsoft. Much like Cisco, Microsoft also pays close to attention to inclusion for women in the workplace. The company’s Women in Technology community believes that gender diversity is a catalyst for enhancing business by fostering fortified relationships and increasing revenue.
Additionally, Microsoft has become more culturally empathetic, recognizing that the key to a successful company is not only just filling spaces but also understanding the individuals who now occupy said spaces. Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella believes that “empathy leads to understanding and collaboration, which helps innovation push its way through the often-messy journey toward helpful products.”
Coming in third place, we have Facebook, which has made improvements by presenting a high level of inclusivity to company culture and community. Their commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident as they prepare to launch We The Culture, a community created by Black employees at Facebook who want to accentuate Black culture.
Increasing diversity is about increasing equity for our entire community and, because of this, more companies have begun to reap the benefit of uncommon experiences, skills, and insights.
HOW TO PROMOTE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE
The need for diversity in tech in 2020 became increasingly necessary, especially because minority representation proved abysmal compared to percentages based on Caucasian executives and employees. With white males dominating the tech industry at approximately 70%, the remaining 30% is unevenly divided among minority men and women across the country. Needless to say, companies should take a better look at how diverse their demographics are. If you’ve ever asked, “Why is diversity important in business?” then the following tips may help you understand its relevance.
DIVERSIFY YOUR EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP
When looking at a company with a top-down approach, it becomes important to start with executive leadership. Unfortunately, the lack of diversity in leadership creates a huge gap and communicates to prospective and current employees that everyone’s voice will either not be heard or an employee would be afraid to stand up and advocate on account of being fired. It should be the company’s dedication and desire that says, “We need more men and women of color who can carry out the necessary duties.”
ALLOW RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL EXPRESSION
Holidays––we all have them. So why is it that we often only acknowledge American holidays as time off? What about Ramadan? Kwanzaa? When companies acknowledge those holidays in the workplace, it provides affirmation for employees and lets them know that there is, yet, room for them as well. And when employees feel like a part of something, companies see a high probability of employees staying on board; companies that fostered more inclusion, saw employee performance increase by approximately 56% which saves millions of dollars per year.
THINK WITH DIVERSITY, NOT ABOUT DIVERSITY.
Similar to the previous point, it’s not enough to just think about diversity. Thinking about diversity only helps you see that diversity needs to be a part of the workplace environment. However, when you think with diversity, you’re already in a place to apply what you’ve learned to real-life situations. For example, if a tech company is looking to increase representation in leadership positions, the company must not only acknowledge the people who fall under the underrepresented demographic, but it must also take into account their values and perspectives, and the benefits of embracing those qualities.
ELEVEN FIFTY ACADEMY RISES UP TO PROMOTE DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Empowered by several community partners like Martin University, The Excel Center, Eastern Star Church, and Indy Women in Tech, we’re working to increase tech industry access for women, minorities, veterans, and rural populations throughout Indiana and beyond. Let’s work together to bring equitable opportunities to those who have previously been counted out. Know someone looking to break into tech? Direct them to our free introductory online courses!