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by Aman Singh Das | June 22, 2009


Danielle: It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that in order to have diversity in the workplace sometimes change is necessary.  Change has recently become a more positive term to hear in the various halls of the American workforce, but unfortunately this is not so in the technology industry.

According to a study conducted by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, the high-tech industry has become unfavorable to minority workers.  “Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans only make up 6.8% of engineering and other technical employers in the tech industry.”  Due to this unwelcoming approach to hire minorities, instead of applying for jobs at tech companies, workers choose to obtain technical jobs in other industries or pursue careers in the marketing, sales or more business-oriented fields. 

We have blogged often about the lack of minority leadership in industries like technology. The study gives us some useful statistics backing this oft-repeated complaint.  It states that “Black men only make up 1.8% of high-level technical employees, [while] Black women 1.6% and Hispanic men make up 2.5%”.  Furthermore, the study did not find any Hispanic women in high technical positions. 

Aman: These percentages (although unsurprising) give credence to a worry that has increased lately about the progress made by minorities in the American workforce.  While Barack Obama, Sonia Sotomayer and Ursula Burns are just a few examples of minorities in prominent leadership roles, the list does not continue for too long. Even more worrying is the trend this lack of diversity is spurring across industries, but especially in the technology field.

With no role models to look up to, many under-represented minorities choose to quit their jobs, regardless of the current economy. Bringing us back to the core point of something I have often said.  An absence of role models and mentors becomes an easy escape route. Recession or not, mentors and leaders are necessary not just for the diverse. While it takes courage to progress in one’s career, it takes heart and resolute determination to do so in the absence of a role model.

Want to know where your employer stands in diversity recruitment and retention? Visit our Engineering Diversity Programs section to see what tech firms believe in and further diversity.


Filed Under: CSR
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