The rates of African American and Hispanic tech workers plummeted throughout the years. In Silicon Valley of the San Francisco Bay Area, it is common to see whites and Asians as tech workers; on the other hand, it is rare and unusual to encounter African American or Hispanic tech workers. Underrepresented minorities who are trying to pursue careers in tech are discouraged and feel unwelcomed based on the low rates of their groups in the tech industry. Therefore, tech executives and CEOs should take action by providing more leadership opportunities for underrepresented groups to send a message to the groups that they have a chance to be working in higher job positions.
Tech Degrees Don’t Help Underrepresented Groups into the Tech Fields
Many believe that anyone that has Computer Science or Engineering Degrees will increase their chances of being hired by tech companies. However, USA Today article “Tech jobs: Minorities have degrees, but don’t get hired” by Elizabeth Weise and Jessica Guynn argues that African American and Hispanic Computer Science and Engineering students graduate at twice the rates that tech companies hire them. In addition, all tech companies claimed that they are hiring any African Americans or Hispanics who are qualified for the jobs (Weise and Guynn). Then, how come African Americans and Hispanics are underrepresented in the tech field?
Tech Companies mainly recruit students from top-tier colleges such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and MIT, which lacks the presentation African Americans and Latinos tech students (Weise and Guynn). According to the data of Computing Research Association, prestigious Universities consist of 4.5% African Americans and 6.5% Hispanics of Computer Science and Engineering graduates (Weise and Guynn). Juan Gilbert, a professor of Computer Science at University of Florida Gainesville, believe that tech companies disconnect African Americans and Hispanics due to the higher rates of African Americans and Hispanics Computer Science graduates from non-top tier colleges (Weise and Guynn). Moreover, Justin Edmund, an employee of Pinterest, claimed that if tech companies keep on recruiting from prestigious universities with low presentation of African Americans and Hispanics, the lack of diversity will remain unsolved (Weise and Guynn). Therefore, tech companies need to recruit students from varieties of colleges nationwide to bring more African Americans and Hispanics into the tech fields.
Tech Companies Should Provide More Opportunities to Underrepresented Minorities
Throughout the 2000s, the number of African Americans and Hispanics in the tech industries are declining. Between 1999 and 2005, large Silicon Valley Tech Firms such as Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Cisco Systems, eBay, and AMD loss 16% of African American tech workers and 11% of Hispanic tech workers; in 2005, 2,200 out of 30,000 tech workers of large Silicon Valley Tech Firms are African Americans or Hispanics (Swift). With such declining statistics, tech companies need to act quickly.
According to the article “Hacking Diversity In Tech By Emphasizing Retention” by Megan Rose Dickey, underrepresented minorities leave tech companies at an alarming rates due to lack of diversity in the workplace. Leslie Miley, Twitter Engineering Manager, stated that losing diverse employees means that the tech culture ignores the benefits of diversity or there are unpleasant working environments (Dickey). It is difficult to endure an environment that isn’t comprise of people from common interests and backgrounds.
In Mercury News article “Blacks, Latinos and women lose ground at Silicon Valley tech companies” by Mike Swift, underrepresented minorities told their experience in tech. Derek Anderson, a 24 years African American tech veteran at Silicon Valley stated that he’s the only African American at every tech jobs that he held (Swift); Vincente De La Cruz, an Hispanic San Jose State University computer science student, said that he had a feeling of isolation as he is the only one. Vincente also stated that he is the only Mexican-American student in his classes and encountered very few Latinos during his internship with SAP in Palo Alto. Moreover, Shellye Archambeau, African American CEO of MetricStream, stated that Silicon Valley lacks tons of potential due to the lack of woman, African American, and Latinos leaderships (Swift). According to the article “Hacking Diversity in Tech by Emphasizing Retention” by Megan Rose Dickey, Joelle Emerson, CEO of Paradigm, suggested that providing underrepresented minorities leadership roles will make tech industries more welcomed because it will signal underrepresented minorities that there are opportunities for advancements.
Dickey, Megan Rose. “Hacking Diversity in Tech by Emphasizing Retention.” TechCrunch.
TechCrunch, 03 Aug. 2015. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
Swift, Mike. “Blacks, Latinos and Women Lose Ground at Silicon Valley Tech Companies.” The Mercury News. Mercury News, 11 Feb. 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
Weise, Elizabeth, and Jessica Guynn. “Tech Jobs: Minorities Have Degrees, but Don’t Get Hired.” USA Today. Gannett, 13 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.