The numbers of Latinos and Latinas in the industry has been rising gradually in the past few years, but they're still disproportionately low in most companies. From camps for girls to networking events for grownups, organizations all over the country are working to promote Latinos in tech.
Latinos are also increasingly important on the consumer side — Nielsen reports they are “at the forefront of technology adoption,” buying up new tech and spending more time than peers on platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp or Discord.
There are several initiatives working to bolster Latinos in the tech industry.
- Latinitas is an organization that teaches children and teens coding, how to design devices, entrepreneurship and more through after-school programs and camps.
- Techquería, another nonprofit, helps Latinos network and share job postings and has over 18,000 members.
- Latinas in Tech works with Silicon Valley companies to promote diverse recruitment. It also spotlights Latina entrepreneurs and gives workshops to over 20,000 members to incentivize founding start-ups, asking for raises or applying for promotions.
In 2021, Hispanics made up a small share of Google (8.8%), Netflix (8.6%), Apple (8%), Microsoft (7%) and Meta/Facebook (6.5%) tech workers.The numbers are even lower for women: Latinas are 2.5% of the workforce at Google while Black women are 3.4%.Part of the problem is that Latino and Black participation in STEM degrees remains low.
But experts tell Axios Latino that hiring practices are also to blame. There’s an implicit bias where recruiters don’t look for or hire Latinos — let alone Latinas — even if they have the same qualifications. Latinos are sometimes hired but not paid the same or just brought on as contractors as opposed to other workers getting full benefits employee jobs.
Companies also have lower retention numbers for non-white and non-Asian tech workers, possibly because of discrimination. In a recent survey from tech education company mThree, 77% of women of color in the industry said they had been made to feel uncomfortable because of their ethnicity.That number was 69% for all Latino respondents and 81% for all Black workers surveyed.
The tech industry is growing nationally, with net employment in 2018 bringing on more than 260,000 new jobs nationally. Since the employment shortage that followed the Great Recession nearly a decade ago, tech employment has increased by an estimated 1.9 million jobs. Yet, as the industry is growing, it’s leaving people of color and women behind.
Google, Microsoft and other tech giants have a well-documented record of what could be called an inclusion exclusion. Google released its annual diversity report this year, showing that nearly 50% of its employees are white, with less than 7% identifying as Hispanic. Microsoft shared similar data from its 2018 diversity report showing 55% white employees and 6% Hispanic employees.
The divide can lead to minority workers and women in tech feeling ignored, and hinder career advancement. For millions of customers, the dearth can affect how they experience a world becoming ever more reliant on technology. For example, say Siri or Google Assistant can’t accurately pronounce names different from Jim or Susan. Advancements in artificial intelligence are marred by misidentifications of people of color, and the effects are long lasting and pervasive.. And facial recognition systems still can misidentify black people.