Though tech companies are striving to hire a more diverse workforce, one of the biggest challenges for candidates from underrepresented communities is also the most fundamental – getting a foot in the door. But, this opportunity to offer new voices and fresh perspectives is too important to overlook. The world of tech has relied on innovation and growing into new markets to thrive. That’s why adding diverse perspectives to its workforce is becoming more critical by the day. In this post, we take a look at the difference that more equal representation could have at work.
Hidden Costs of Mistreatment in the Workplace
Gaps in the number of underrepresented workers in tech doesn’t just impact a company’s reputation; it also contributes to their bottom line. According to a 2017 study1, the cost of turnover for businesses in the United States amounts to $16 billion every year. The single largest driver of turnover? Unfair treatment. This is more than leaving a job for better opportunities. It’s even higher than unhappiness with a person’s job duties and responsibilities. Workers are people, and when people feel mistreated, they are more likely to leave their job than anything else.
It goes deeper. Companies that are dragging their feet with their diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives are losing financial ground quickly. If IT companies fully embrace efforts to create a more representative workforce, then the industry as a whole could see a gain of $400 billion a year1. It’s clear that having a more diverse workforce could increase revenue and operating margins for companies.
ALSO SEE: Western Digital named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by the Ethisphere Institute.
Slow Growth for More Equal Tech Representation
Not all hope is lost, though. For example, African Americans are studying for computer science degrees now more than ever. From 1991 to 2016, the amount of African American computer science majors nearly doubled from 6 percent to 10 percent2. It’s a modest increase, sure. But, this rise in education has already proven to be valuable in the United States. A few bright spots are a rise in computer programmers and operations research workers who are African American3.
Education could open new doors for a diverse workforce. To create future generations of workers in tech, companies and schools alike are looking at K-12 programs that introduce computer science concepts. These efforts could get more kids from underrepresented communities interested while they are young and set them on a path towards successful careers in tech.
The Tech Industry’s Initiatives are Promising
The good news is that there is much that can be done. Many of the world’s largest tech companies are acutely aware that lack of diversity is a pressing concern. In one case, a leading tech company has notably hired nearly 50 percent of its newest workers from underrepresented groups: women, African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Native Hawaiian & Other Pacific Islander4. They are actively keeping their promise to hire qualified individuals from more diverse backgrounds. If these efforts continue, then the tech industry could make great strides in creating a more diverse workforce.
More Ways Western Digital is Working Towards a More Equitable World
- As a flagship sponsor of the Women in Data Science Network and Conference, we’re supporting and sharing stories of women pursuing all levels of data science careers.
- Our culture is one of inclusion, and we strive to build teams of diverse perspectives.
- Through STEM volunteering and support, we’re helping educate future generations from all walks of life.
- Mistreatment is main reason people leave tech jobs, costing companies $16B per year. https://www.techrepublic.com/article/mistreatment-is-main-reason-people-leave-tech-jobs-costing-companies-16b-per-year/
- Women and Minorities in Tech, By the Numbers. https://www.wired.com/story/computer-science-graduates-diversity/
- Black and Hispanic Underrepresentation in tech: It’s time to change the equation. https://www.brookings.edu/research/black-and-hispanic-underrepresentation-in-tech-its-time-to-change-the-equation/
- Inclusion & Diversity – Apple. https://www.apple.com/diversity/