Friday, March 17, 2017

Cracking the Code on Diversity in Tech - ENTREPRENEUR

by Kelli Dragovich
Originally published: March 16, 2017

It seems the tech industry’s ability to disrupt and innovate has found its limit. Tech companies have acknowledged the need to diversify their workforce, but haven’t quite been able to crack the code on how to do so. And in a post-Trump world, candidates’ anxieties around the issue are showing no signs of slowing. How can an industry with innovation in its DNA, and virtually unlimited resources, effectively address this issue? The answer is a two-pronged approach that addresses both the next generation of diverse workers and the qualified and underrepresented candidates who are knocking on Silicon Valley’s door today.

For an industry that is obsessed with data, it may not be surprising that a common pitfall is an over-emphasis on numbers. This obsession with metrics has led to initiatives like affirmative action hiring programs set up by some of the biggest names in tech, which, unfortunately, have failed to perform as hoped. While hiring initiatives and public revealing of diversity numbers are steps in the right direction, they are just that -- a step, not a cure.

The bottom line is that both short and long-term solutions are needed to really solve this problem. Qualitative measurement of this type of progress is difficult, but the goal should be a lasting cultural shift, not a data point to share with the world.