African-American Chief Diversity Officers Are Leveling Up In Tech

CBx Vibe:DNA” Kendrick Lamar

By Christian McKenzie

  • Snap hired Oona King & Airbnb hired Melissa Thomas-Hunt to help with diversity
  • The black tech workforce is less than 5% black

A lot of tech companies have been brutally plagued with stories about their lack of racial sensitivity and astuteness. Many are coming to the realization that the lack of diversity in the c-suite affects the makeup of their entire workforce, the creation of inherently biased products and profitability. In the past year multiple technology companies have placed African-Americans in Chief Diversity Officer roles, or positions with similar titles, most recently Airbnb and Snapchat (SNAP +8.04%)  appointment  Melissa Thomas-Hunt and Oona King to fill these jobs.

Photo: Oona King (Top) & Melissa Thomas-Hunt (Bottom)
Photo: Oona King (Top) & Melissa Thomas-Hunt (Bottom)

Why This Matters: High growth tech company jobs are highly sought after by diverse graduates, with 5 million IT jobs expected to be created globally by 2027, according to Jobbatical. Both Thomas-Hunt and King have highly credentialed resumes, but it may not be enough to combat the systemic lack of hiring of diverse workers that’s led to the less than 5% black tech workforce.

The data shows that diverse companies are more profitable than non-diverse companies. According to Russell Reynolds Associates, a company with publicly reported racist or sexist behavior from 2017 to 2018 saw a 7% decline in share value immediately following the incident. But according to Forbes, these executives aren’t always provided with the resources to overhaul the company’s attitude about diversity and inclusion. While companies are recruiting well-known names to these positions, the execution of making their business practices inclusive has not been seamless.

Situational Awareness: There are some companies that want to connect with candidates of color and use platforms like Jopwell to do that. Having Chief Diversity Officers should help address racially biased hiring and operational practices.

CBx Vibe:DNA” Kendrick Lamar


Christian McKenzie

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