Tech Titans Still Falling Short On Hiring Minorities
By Lesley Rennis
Among the largest U.S. tech companies, black workers in technical jobs average 3%
Employment of tech occupations is projected to grow 12%
Five years ago technology giants Apple (AAPL +0.16%), Facebook (FB +0.12%), Google (GOOG +0.15%), and Microsoft (MSFT +1.97%), released their first diversity reports. They revealed workforces that were overwhelmingly White, Asian, and male. None reported a workforce that was more than 6% African American, the average was closer to 2%. Based on 2019 reports, little has changed with most tech companies reporting modest, if any increase in the number of black technical workers, in some instances representation has actually worsened.
Why This Matters: Technology is king as the industry fuels much of the U.S. economy. Employment in the sector is outpacing the rate of other occupations. Jobs in the industry tend to provide higher pay, better benefits, and be more resilient. Although, the workforces of tech giants have grown exponentially, with companies like Facebook quadrupling their headcount, none report significant progress in hiring black workers.
The numbers are particularly stark among technical workers including the coders, engineers, and data scientists who make up these companies ranks. At Google and Microsoft, the share of employees who are black or Latinx rose by less than a percentage point since 2014. The share of black technical workers at Apple is unchanged at 6%.
Tech companies claim they are working diligently and sincerely to increase the number of minority workers, investing millions to recruit, educate, train, and provide internships to black and Latinx students. Based on the 2019 data, these efforts have yielded little results.
Situational Awareness: Some question the consistency and breadth of tech diversity initiatives, while others would like companies to place more emphasis on attrition, workplace culture, hiring and promotion practices. It’s hard to believe the same companies that have figured out how to launch rockets into space and connect people around the world, can’t identify the relevant pain points to solve the diversity issue.
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