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Advancing Diversity & Inclusion in the Tech Industry: Challenges, Initiatives, and Future Outlook

Diversity & Inclusion May 23, 2023
Advancing Diversity & Inclusion in the Tech Industry: Challenges, Initiatives, and Future Outlook


Draup analyzed tech talent with 5+ years of experience across all job roles in the United States to identify the diversity trend.

  • San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, and Seattle are the leading tech talent hotspots employing a substantial pool of diverse talent.
  • MSAs such as Atlanta and Washington have abundant Afro-American talent, whereas Los Angeles has plenty of Latinx talent.

  • Draup utilized data modeling tools and machine learning (ML) models to identify gender and ethnicity diversity across eight job clusters.

  • Indigenous groups/Native Americans are underrepresented in tech in the US compared to other diverse tech talent.
  • Major US tech companies collaborate with NGOs and HBCUs to achieve diversity and inclusion objectives.

  • Download the report.

    Diversity and inclusion across the workforce are essential for innovation in the tech industry to ensure diverse ways of generating new ideas. 

    The tech industry is considered a force for good with the power to change the world. However, its workforce diversity and inclusion have historically fallen short. 

    Tech has been too male-dominated and underrepresented. 

    In 2022, 68% of US business leaders acknowledged a lack of diversity in their tech workforce. 

    State of Diversity & Inclusion in the Tech Industry 

    Gender Diversity: 

    • Women hold a lower representation in technical roles. 
    • According to big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, women occupy between 20% and 30% of technical positions. 
    • Women of color make up only 5% of the computing workforce. 

    Racial & Ethnic Diversity: 

    • White employees comprised 63.2% of the professional, scientific, and technical services sector in 2023, while African Americans accounted for just 7.7% and Hispanics 9.0%. 
    • African American women hold only 3% of computing jobs, and Hispanic women hold only 1%. 

    Diversity among underrepresented communities: 

    • Individuals from multiple underrepresented groups, like Black women or Hispanic LGBTQ+ individuals, face compounded challenges due to intersecting biases and stereotypes. 
    • In 2020, only 17.9% of people with disabilities were employed, compared to 61.8% of people without disabilities. 

    Why Must Tech Industry Celebrate Diversity & Inclusion? 

    Companies must actively support and celebrate LGBTQ+ and disabled employees to create a more inclusive tech industry. Inclusive hiring, reasonable accommodations, awareness, education, and equal career advancement can achieve this. 

    • Diverse teams with varied perspectives and experiences drive innovation and creativity by bringing fresh ideas and unique approaches to problem-solving. These companies are 35% more likely to outperform their industry peers. 
    • Diverse teams offer a wider range of perspectives, leading to more robust decision-making processes. Racially diverse teams outperformed homogenous teams by 35% in decision-making tasks. 
    • Diverse companies are better equipped to understand and serve diverse customer bases, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Companies with more diverse leadership teams have a 13% higher likelihood of outperforming their competitors. 
    • Embracing diversity helps tech companies tap into a wider talent pool, attracting top talent from various backgrounds and experiences. Companies can discover untapped potential and expertise by expanding recruitment efforts beyond traditional channels. 

    Barriers to Diversity & Inclusion in the Tech Industry 

    Several barriers hinder progress toward diversity and inclusion in the tech industry: 

    1. Unconscious bias can influence hiring decisions and perpetuate underrepresentation in the tech industry. Identical resumes with male names will more likely receive interview callbacks than resumes with female names.
    2. Lack of diversity in educational pipelines due to limited access to quality education and opportunities contributes to the lack of diversity in the tech sector. Only 35% of high schools in the US offer computer science courses.
    3. Discrimination, bias, and exclusionary practices in the workplace create unwelcoming environments. 37% of underrepresented employees reported experiencing stereotyping or bias in the workplace.
    4. Limited access to mentorship and career advancement opportunities for the underrepresented can hinder progression and limit access to valuable networks. These programs positively impact retention and promotion.

    Efforts to Promote Diversity & Inclusion in the Tech Industry 

    Data shows that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) workers, women, and LGBTQ+ employees still face discrimination, underrepresentation, and inequality in the tech industry. 

    Many non-governmental organizations (NGO) have sprung up to mitigate the potential adverse effects on society. Some NGOs are working with corporates to increase representation and help them reach their diversity & inclusion goals. 

    The below infographic shows a sample of initiatives across different focus groups.

    D&I Recruiting

    Numerous initiatives and strategies are addressing diversity challenges in the tech industry:

    1. In-house diversity & inclusion initiatives:

    Many tech companies have established diversity and inclusion programs to recruit and retain underrepresented talent. 

    For example, Intel’s Accessibility Program Office develops accessible technology and promotes disability-inclusive workplaces. The program makes Intel’s products and services accessible to diverse abilities. 

    The company provides assistive technology and accommodations to disabled employees to enable full workplace participation. Intel’s Accessibility Program Office works with disability organizations and advocates to make tech more inclusive.

    2. Partnerships with diversity-focused organizations:

    Tech companies collaborate with organizations like Girls Who Code, Black Girls CODE, and Code2040 to provide resources, mentorship, and opportunities for underrepresented groups. 

    For instance, Intel partnered with the Society of Women Engineers to support scholarships and career development programs for women in engineering.

    3. Recruitment strategies targeting underrepresented groups:

    Companies are implementing diverse recruitment practices, such as actively sourcing candidates from underrepresented groups and using blind hiring techniques. 

    Salesforce’s Trailhead Apprenticeship Program specifically targets individuals from diverse backgrounds, providing training and on-the-job experience.

    4. Diversity encouraging educational programs and scholarships:

    Initiatives like Amazon’s Future Engineer program and Microsoft’s TEALS program support STEM education in underserved communities to increase diversity in tech-related fields. 

    Scholarships and grants, such as the Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, help underrepresented students pursue tech education. 

    Future of Diversity & Inclusion in the Tech Industry 

    1. The changing demographics of the US highlight the necessity of a diverse tech workforce to cater to the evolving needs of a diverse population. By embracing diversity, tech companies can position themselves to meet future demands. 
    2. Increasing awareness and conversations about diversity and inclusion drive a shift in societal attitudes. Advocacy efforts have shed light on workplace discrimination and encouraged a more inclusive culture. 
    3. Legislative measures and regulatory frameworks may encourage diversity and address disparities in the tech industry. Diversity reporting requirements and affirmative action policies could promote accountability and progress. 
    4. Emerging technologies like AI/ML, IoT, and automation can perpetuate biases or drive positive change. Ethical development and implementation of these technologies can create more inclusive systems and mitigate bias. 

    Draup’s talent intelligence platform uses AI and ML to address diversity and inclusion concerns. Its Diversity Navigator can assist HR leaders in charting career paths for the underrepresented and achieving DEI goals. 

    Draup’s comprehensive methodology analyzed gender and ethnicity estimation across eight prominent job clusters. Download the report to learn about the current occupational level, diversity recruitment sources, and location analysis.

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