Saturday, October 24, 2020

As the Tech Industry Attempts to Diversify, Strategic Obstacles Remain

Diversity in tech

It is no secret that the Silicon Valley-based tech industry lacks diversity. The largely white, largely male world of tech has recently made moves to change the composition of their workforce and draw a more diverse crowd of techies and industry employees, but there is still much to improve.

Strategically speaking, tech companies are changing their game to more effectively reach black, Latino and female prospects. According to an Intel spokesperson, the company’s former hiring philosophy had once been to “recruit from the best of the best,” which evidently did not include historically black colleges or minority-serving institutions. But these antiquated strategies, it seems, are showing signs of change, albeit slowly.

In the past, Silicon Valley’s diversification efforts have focused on recruitment – not job training – which has been instrumental in retaining more black, Latino and female employees. Still, the workforce numbers are not consistent with true demographics where, for example, the Intel workforce is 4 percent Latino and the Bay Area workforce is 16 percent Latino: a 400 percent difference.

Looking forward, the main question in the minds of diversity strategists remains “whether [tech companies] recruit in a way that systematically prevents the hiring of African Americans and Latinos,” Harvard sociologist Frank Dobbin said. Increasing the recruiting at minority-serving institutions would be a great first step, but training programs, which have long since lagged behind, remain critical to the long-term success of corporate diversification programs.

San Francisco Chronicle