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Racial and Gender Disparities in the Tech Workforce

Info: 959 words (4 pages) Essay
Published: 4th Nov 2021 in Employment

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Racial and gender disparities are related in tech use and tech workforce. The tech industry has changed how we communicate, get information, and put out information. We are able to access information in shorter periods of times. The employment rate for computer science and engineering is growing at a fast rate, twice the rate of the national average, to be exact (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). However, there is one trend when it comes to employment, there is an underrepresentation of women and minority workers in the tech industry. A few commonalities between racial and gender disparities in the tech industry and tech use are the low retention rate, employment rate, and the affects these disparities have on technologies.

The racial and gender divide is evident. Those who are underrepresented in these fields need to be acknowledge and companies need to be responsible for ending these disparities. Technology is not only made for one group of people, it is made for all, for everyone to be considered, the tech workforce needs to be diverse.

In the tech industry, white males are on the “right” side of the spectrum. It is a white, male dominated industry.  They enquire the higher positions and are the most represented, whites are 83.3% executives and are 68% in the professional’s category (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). However, when compared to other ethnicities they are significantly lower in both the executives and professional’s category; African Americans (2 percent to 5.3 percent), Hispanics (3.1 percent to 5.3 percent), and Asian Americans (10.6 percent to 19.5 percent). Of those executives’ roles, 80% were men and 20% were women (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

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Unfortunately, with the already low employment rate of these underrepresented groups, they do not have a high retention rate. In 1984, 37% of women had computer science degrees, however, in 2018 it decreased to 19% (Williams, 2018). In addition, of those women who have degrees in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), only 26% work in technical careers as opposed to 40% for men. To further exacerbate the situation, the small percentage of women who enter the tech field, leave at a 45% higher rate than men (Williams, 2018). They share the same reasons for leaving the tech field. Some of the main reasons for women leaving their jobs are because of lack of career growth, discrimination, poor management, slow salary growth, company culture, and not being challenged in their role. While for people of color, about 25% of them have experienced stereotyping, and 42% of them left due to unfairness and discrimination. This is about twice the rate as their white counterparts (Williams, 2018).

A study by the Ascend Foundation, a non-profit Asian organization for business professionals in North America, monitored tech professionals over a period of 8 years (Mock, 2017). In their examination, they were able to conclude that white men were consistently being promoted at a higher rate compared to their non-white, non-male colleagues. In addition, “black and Hispanic professionals are less likely than their white peers to become executives.” In addition, the number of black executives increased by 43% in the time period the Ascend Foundation examined, however, “at the same time” there was a decline in the number if black manager and black female professionals (Mock, 2017).

With the tech industry not being diverse, it affects the products that are being released to the public. If the industry was diverse, more products and services could be used to solve certain problems in certain communities. For example, it will help when creating right solutions to business challenges and solve problems faster because of different perspectives. In addition, some people in the industry might be the target audience for products and can help identify, asses, and solve problems that are only happening in their community. It will also help build products for everyone and build a great company culture.

Can the racial and gender disparities in tech use and tech workforce be leveled? I believe so, however, we have a long way to go before it can. I believe that companies committing to diversity and assessing the work environment would be a great start to level the playing field for either group. As stated earlier, underrepresented people left their tech roles mostly due to discrimination and lack of career growth. If companies had internal surveys and focus groups, they could find out what these people are experiencing and work towards creating a better work environment. In addition, companies should push recruiters into finding more minority candidates. If workers are feeling unappreciated and unheard, they will not stay. We have a long way to go to close the gaps, but it’s never too late to start, so let’s push companies to start now.

Works Cited

Mock, Brentin. “In Silicon Valley, Racial Disparities Are Even Worse Than Gender Disparities.” CityLab, 25 Oct. 2017, www.citylab.com/equity/2017/10/when-it-comes-to-tech-racial-disparities-are-far-worse-than-gender-disparities/542013/.

United States. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. EEOC Diversity in High Tech. [Washington, D.C.] :U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2016.

Williams, Kim. “Women in Tech: How to Attract and Retain Top Talent.” Indeed Blog, 5 Nov. 2018, blog.indeed.com/2018/11/06/women-in-tech-report/.

 

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