Monday, June 20, 2016

For more diversity in the workplace, start with technical roles - TECHCRUNCH

By Elizabeth Ames
Originally published: June 18, 2016

The lack of diversity in terms of gender, race, ethnicity and age is well documented in the technology industry. Public data shared by major tech employers show that women only represent 25 to 45 percent of their entire workforce. The disparity gets worse in technical roles — for the past five years, women have been stuck at 21 percent of technical roles, based on data from the Anita Borg Institute’s Top Companies for Women Technologists survey.

Other underrepresented groups face similarly discouraging participation levels. Hispanic employees hold, at best, 11 percent of jobs, while black workers only account for 2 to 8 percent of jobs at technology companies. Again, representation is even lower in technical roles, with Hispanic workers at 2 to 8 percent and black employees at 1 to 7 percent, according to public diversity data from technology companies.

Women fill many roles in marketing, HR, finance and other departments in the tech industry. This is a positive trend, but it’s never going to be enough to close the gender gap in the industry. Why? Because the biggest job growth at nearly all companies is happening in technical roles. If we continue to discourage women from pursuing technical roles, the gap will only get wider.