The year is now 2022 and only about 1 in 10 employees at large tech companies is black or Latinx. While tech companies continue to release statements of corporate solidarity against racism, they are also under more pressure than ever to demonstrate tangible progress.
For many years, industry giants resisted calls to disclose workforce diversity data, making it difficult to pinpoint how much whiter and more male Silicon Valley was than the population at large. What does the data say?
The numbers revealed an industry dominated by white and Asian men. Of nearly 50,000 employees at Google in 2014, 83% were men, 60% were white, and 30% were Asian. Just 2.9% were Latino, and 1.9% Black. A year later, as other major Silicon Valley companies began releasing their own diversity numbers, Google announced it would dedicate $150 million to increasing diversity at the company. In the years since, Google has more than doubled its workforce but made minimal progress toward a more representative one.
However, since the pandemic, Hispanic women have faced a steeper decline in employment (-21%) than other groups of women and men, according to a study by Pew Research. The numbers do not improve when we look at the tech industry. A 2020 study found while women comprise 28.8% of the U.S. tech workforce, Latinas hold a mere 2% of jobs in STEM.
There are over 500,000 tech businesses in the United States and corresponding job positions are varied, including roles in social media, marketing, content strategy, SEO and web analytics, as well as programming and engineering. Tech is not just about coding — it includes everything that makes a business run. It is projected that over 240,000 tech positions will be added to the job market by the end of 2021.
Making a long-term commitment to the Latina community starts with sharing opportunities in the tech industry with students, and reaching out to those who are looking to make a change and reskill. This may include career days, field trips and educational tech seminars at local community centers. Reach high school students before they are even thinking about college, because they may be considering a school that doesn’t specialize in these types of programs.
For adults who are looking to make a career transition or start anew, this is the perfect time to jump into tech. Professional networks such as Latinas in Tech and TechLatino provide resources to connect with other Latino professionals and businesses, building a network through workshops and seminars.
It is important to not only hire for diverse talent but to place focus on their career growth and retention. According to Women in Tech, women in STEM careers are more likely to leave within the first few years due to an unsupportive work culture. A lack of diverse role models and representation in the workplace also leads to higher turnover. An HBR study found that 77% of Latinos feel the need to repress parts of their identity and feel like they can’t be themselves.
The problem doesn’t seem to be education but lack of access and support. A number of minority tech professionals agree that the industry’s reliance on personal relationships to grant access and opportunity is partly to blame, producing a network effect that goes against Black and Latino inclusion
Here is to seeing an increase of more Latinas In the industry that shapes our day to day lives.
As the job market reels after COVID-19 lockdowns, some tech headhunters say companies have an opportunity to rethink the way hiring is done to make sure they don't pass over candidates they need to build products that appeal to a broad customer base.
There are a number of organizations aimed at changing the scope of diversity in the tech field. Organizations such as Sabio hold coding bootcamps for anybody wanting to take a leap into the field. Having a diverse team of Instructors and Software Engineers that are dedicated to student success lays the groundwork for a bright future for those who complete the bootcamps.
Are you not sure where to begin? Coding bootcamps such as Sabio are a great way to get your tech career started.
Want to learn more about Sabio? Attend an info session where you will have the opportunity to ask questions Sign up here: bit.ly/sabio-info-session
Ready to start coding? Free coding classes available to get you started: bit.ly/sabio-intro-classes