A report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) confirms what many already know: The tech world is overwhelmingly white and male.
During a forum in Washington D.C., Ronald Edwards, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s program research and surveys division, said that there are fewer women, African-Americans and Latinos employed at these companies.
Looking at the general private sector compared to the high-tech sector, a report, “Diversity In High Tech,” found that whites (63.5 percent to 68.5 percent), Asians Americans (14.4 percent to 7.4 percent) and men (52 percent to 64 percent), were more likely to be hired. Meanwhile, African-Americans (14.4 percent to 7.4 percent), women (48 percent to 36 percent) and Latinos (13.9 percent to 8 percent) got a smaller share of the high tech pie.
These statistics were based on 2014 data from private U.S. firms with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more with federal contracts of $50,000 or more, USA Today reported.
The stats get even grimmer when looking at executive leadership, the Washington Post noted. According to the study, whites hold 83 percent of leadership positions, while African-Americans hold a measly two percent, Latinos three percent, and Asian-Americans 10.5 percent. Meanwhile, women hold 20 percent of high tech executive posts.
The report also gave a snapshot of Silicon Valley, which was worse. Women, Latinos and African-Americans make up 30 percent, six percent, and three percent, respectively, of the employees in the top 75 tech firms. However, in non-tech firms in Silicon Valley, women hold 49 percent of the jobs, Hispanics 22 percent and African-Americans 24 percent.
Age discrimination is also another bias that must be acknowledged too, Laurie McCann, a senior attorney with the AARP stressed, citing that the average age of employees at Twitter is 28-years-old.
“The most amazing fact is that the industry is so unapologetic about it. Rather than try to hide or explain away the lack of age diversity in the sector, they boast about it,” she said.
“This distinction [digital natives] is clearly age-based and can be used to screen out older applicants.”
So what can be done about to increase minority hires and reduce hiring bias? Suggestions from leaders included removing names and schools from resumes, and creating and encouraging STEM courses to students at a younger age so they can compete in this digital age, which is incredibly important.
“Expanding diversity is critical to unlocking the full potential of tomorrow’s economy. Standing still is not an option,” said Commission Chair Jenny Yang.
She added, “Making progress in expanding opportunity in the high tech industry is critical to strengthening our economy and reducing inequality in our communities.”