Diversity has long been a problem in the tech industry, but leaders like Apple and Intel are taking strides to close the gap. By creating more opportunities for women and minorities, these industry giants are working to solve the talent shortage in tech and include more unique experiences in skillsets in their workforce. Here are the key details of this growing job market, and why it should matter to you.
Despite the fact that women make up half of the population, they only represent one third of the workforce in tech. Historically, industry experts have believed that this is primarily a pipeline problem, in that there are less women and minorities studying in STEM fields. However, a study by USA Today highlighted an alarming truth: the top universities are graduating minority computer engineers at twice the rate that tech companies are hiring them.
This problem boils down to a cultural issue. The tech industry has been primarily male and primarily Asian or white for a very long time, resulting in the rise of the “bro-grammer.” This mindset is often alienating to women and minorities and tends to drive them out of the industry. After all, a 2008 Harvard Business Review study found that 50% of women working in a STEM field leave because of a hostile work environment.
In the past years, progress on this issue has seemed slow. However, industry leaders are starting to take notice of the problem and are taking steps to correct it. For instance, in 2014, Intel’s diversity hiring was at 32%. By June of 2015, 43% of their new hires were minorities. Similarly, Apple has hired 11,000 women (an increase of 65% over the previous year) and nearly half of their new hires are women or minorities.
While other companies like Facebook and Google are joining in on the effort to increase diversity in the tech industry, the changes themselves are happening gradually. However, as more and more companies become aware of the disparity in gender and racial representation in tech, there will only be more jobs for these groups.
But what are the real benefits of increased diversity? Besides providing more opportunities for underrepresented individuals or communities, more diversity can actually improve the tech industry as a whole. Simply put, drawing from a wider candidate base can help close the talent gap that’s currently plaguing STEM fields. Additionally, drawing on the talents and opinions of a more diverse group results in more big ideas, more potential, and more agile development of new technologies.
Diversity is good for everyone. Not only will more representation create a welcoming, inclusive environment for different segments of the population, but it will actually help create a thriving, vibrant tech community. Female and minority candidates have a lot to offer, from unique skills to a fresh perspective that can change the way the industry operates.