[dropcap]By now[/dropcap]I would hope the world knows the tech workforce is lacking real diversity and inclusion. But just in case you haven’t seen the numbers, it’s something like this: Women make up an average of 11%, Latinos an average of 1% and African-Americans an average of 2%. Here’s more data via Forbes and Fortune. Nothing that is nearly close to the US population. While shockingly to me is that many tech CEOs, investors, and engineers are still asking the question; why does this even matter or what is the real business case for diversity and inclusion. That’s for another post
For startups/tech companies, non-profits, diversity and inclusion advocacy groups and employee resource groups along with a few CEO’s who do get such as Slack’s Stewart Butterfield and Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, the majority of focus on diversity and inclusion in tech is targeted two categories STEM with youth and workplace hiring underrepresented candidates. The focus on STEM and youth is very importation and should be magnified 10X, and I’m not criticizing it. As tech companies are on the verge of releasing, their 2016 diversity numbers and goals let’s get prepared for another year of disappointment and lack of results. There’re various reasons why the numbers again will be disappointing such as the lack of accountability from CEOs to the hiring managers, the existing bro-tech culture, a broken hiring practice and an exclusive networked based referral and recruitment system. In 2015 Intel announced they are adding bonuses and mandates for underrepresented referrals and Pinterest recently announced a similar program. Both companies are considered moving in the right direction of diversity and inclusion with efforts towards an inclusive workforce.
At the current rate, my assumption is it will take years before we see a significant quantitative increase in the tech workforce. Which is why it is obvious to create the workforce of the future, we should focus more on minority entrepreneurship. Here’s why; if more minority /underrepresented entrepreneurs are mentored, funded, or incubated their companies are more likely to create a diverse, inclusive workforce. That ladies and gentleman are a fact and science. A diverse workforce is the now and the future, and we don’t have ten or fifteen years to wait; when we can invest in the future now.
As so many people like to focus on the problem, often I believe people forget how we got here with the lack of diversity in tech. We can look at population data and debate pipeline excuses, but one of the main reasons the tech industry is not diverse today is because startups that were funded and their founders were not diverse years ago. This is one of the many reasons why I focus on programs that support minority entrepreneurs.
Want to solve diversity in tech? Start with the minority entrepreneurs.