Why is Diversity in Tech Hard

Nov 20

What is diversity?

Diversity: the state of being diverse; variety.

The tech world has been talking about it for decades. With recent events, from MeToo, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQS+, etc. it seems tech companies are taking the necessary steps to improve their diversity. There are panels at conferences, books, podcasts, and so much more dedicated to the topic. However, the numbers are still quite discouraging.

Marginalized groups – namely women and minorities – are still severely underrepresented in tech. The top companies in Silicon Valley are overwhelmingly male and overwhelmingly white (with a vast majority of companies having less than 10% black and Latinx). WTF?

Listen to our interview with Heather to talk about diversity

The Numbers are bad

In 2014, Google released its employment diversity numbers, and they were nothing short of terrible. 83% of Google tech employees were men, with 60% of the entire tech workforce being white and 34% being Asian. However, there was one positive outcome from the release: After Google released its report, the rest of the tech community began making an effort to be more transparent.

Let's not even mention what it's like being a founder looking for investment money. When it comes to the racial disparities in funding, there's a wide gap in the number of black and Latinx investment professionals who work at VC funds.

Gender is an industry-wide problem that's finally being discussed openly. Women might make up 53% of the workforce, with the number coming in about 50% for STEM fields. But of those STEM fields, tech and engineering lag far behind the rest of the crowd. We haven't even mentioned the pay gap yet.

Now What?

From all of these numbers, it's clear that tech companies are predominantly white, male, and young. It's an industry that very much reflects the same ratios of diversity it sees at the leadership level. And as it stands, it's one that seems very much closed to "outsiders."

Tech hiring still relies heavily on poaching and incentives. Who can offer better perks? Dry cleaning? Hot breakfasts? Work from home? Travel stipend? Between all of this, the hiring process is ripe for disruption. As a recruiter, it's where you can have the most impact. It's up to recruiters to begin that disruption at the job description, interview, and hiring phases, meeting an unsustainable ecosystem head-on with new ideas, methodologies, and practices. 

  1. Make a move.

  2. Get leadership to buy-in.

  3. Move the culture forward.

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