Diversity Challenges in the Tech Industry

With the recent news on diversity and inclusion challenges surfacing at Uber, CEO Travis Kalanick shared workforce diversity data related to technology teams. It was reported that Uber had 15.1% women in technical staff positions. Although other tech companies were mentioned, there are considerations to make before assuming those figures to be comparable to other organizations in the industry and whether the percentages look good or not. There are two apparent challenges that the tech industry faces when measuring diversity that must be considered: (1) finding a comparable benchmark that encompasses people that have the requisite skills to do the job; and (2) assessing diversity at the right grouping level. Given the challenges already faced with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics jobs, it may be a good start to focus on job-level workforce specifics rather than an aggregate category of technical staff.

So, where can a company focus effort on assessing current and increasing future workforce diversity? A first step in increasing diversity in the workplace is understanding the diversity of the talent pipeline. For example, if a company can understand upcoming talent pools to recruit from then companies may be better able to estimate future diversity growth opportunities (e.g., review the enrollment and degrees awarded trends from year to year in the targeted areas). Also, there are opportunities to evaluate the talent acquisition process to help identify gaps in the recruitment and selection process. For example, a talent acquisition diversity dashboard could be created to assess whether candidate pools, applicant pools, selection rates, and employment percentages are flagged as being statistically below, at, or above a comparable benchmark. Finally, as important as it is to understand the pipeline of talent, as well as recruit and hire qualified talent, it is also imperative to measure retention and minimize turnover. Minimizing turnover with inclusion awareness and training programs will help maintain and develop the diverse talent in the workplace.

Connect with DCI to learn more about diversity reporting, benchmarking sources, inclusion programs, and education opportunities on various diversity and inclusion topics (e.g., diverse candidate slate risk awareness, unconscious bias, inclusion best practices).

By Keli Wilson, Senior Manager of EEO Compliance, Diversity, and Inclusion

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