#WeLead: Creating an Inclusive Work Environment

Discrimination in the Tech Industry   

The tech industry, long dominated by white men and often criticized for its lack of racial and gender diversity, faces new challenges as millennial markets call for inclusion and sustainability in all aspects of our rapidly changing economy. Despite the cross-cultural impact of the tech industry’s accomplishments, there is a glaring lack of minority presence in the workforce. As a minority-owned business (MBE) which provides supplier management software solutions, ConnXus makes it our mission to present equal employment opportunities to underrepresented individuals.

The lack of diversity within the tech industry is an issue which has been largely publicized and rooted in statistical fact. Though the Black and Latinx community make up is approximately 31.1% of the U.S population, these groups are underrepresented in tech by 16-18 percentage points compared with their presence in the overall U.S. labor force and comprise just over five percent of the “Professionals” category in U.S. tech industry labor data. While Asian Americans are well represented in tech (making up roughly a third of the workforce at Google, Yahoo and Facebook), the same is not true of upper-management positions. A 2015 report from the Ascend Foundation revealed that it is nearly four times more challenging for an Asian-American to become an executive at a tech firm than their White counterpart.

So why are so many tech companies struggling with diversity? Some blame the lack of minority representation in their firms as the result of a predominantly White and Asian pool of applicants, however a USA Today article indicates that that minority applicants may be passed over due to implicit biases in hiring practices that tend to favor non-minority groups. The tech industry has become increasingly important to our nation’s economic growth, and as the consumer market continues to diversify it is imperative that minority groups are not left behind. We believe it is important for underrepresented individuals to break into this traditionally exclusive space not only because it is the right thing to do, but because there is inherent value in creating a workface that reflects our nation’s changing demographics.

The Value of Diversity in Tech

According to Scott E. Page, professor of complex systems, political science and economics at the University of Michigan, “Diverse groups of people bring to organizations more and different ways of seeing a problem and, thus, faster/better ways of solving it”. Tech relies on innovation to succeed, and diversity of thought can bring fresh perspectives and solutions to the table. Homogenous teams have shown to be limited in this respect. Research by Columbia University and MIT found that diverse teams led to greater scrutiny of decisions and ideas whereas non-diverse teams were more prone to overconfidence and poor decision making.

Recent findings support diversity’s contribution to the bottom line – a 2015 McKinsey study found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35 percent more likely to outperform industry counterparts. The study also found that “there is a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance: for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8 percent”. At ConnXus we pride ourselves on our talented and diverse staff, with over half of our employees coming from minority backgrounds all working together towards building a tech empire that reflects the world around us.

Creating an Inclusive Work Environment      

Since our inception, ConnXus has aimed to facilitate inclusivity within the tech industry. Our team strives to create opportunities for diverse-owned businesses to work directly with Fortune 2000 companies for contracts and bid opportunities. At ConnXus we believe that diversity and inclusion efforts aren’t just pragmatic business incentives – they are ethical responsibilities. There exist endless opportunities in the tech space, and excluding minorities only perpetuates and exacerbates economic and social inequality. Our industry relies on ingenuity and innovation, and by failing to include underrepresented individuals we risk missing out on the diverse perspectives and talent that can elevate our organization to new heights.

Sources

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/26/upshot/dont-blame-recruiting-pipeline-for-lack-of-diversity-in-tech.html
  2. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/10/12/silicon-valley-diversity-tech-hiring-computer-science-graduates-african-american-hispanic/14684211/
  3. http://breakingthemold.openmic.org/
  4. http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-asian-american-tech-20150506-story.html
  5. http://documents.latimes.com/hidden-plain-sight-asians-americans-silicon-valley/
  6. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/10/12/silicon-valley-diversity-tech-hiring-computer-science-graduates-african-american-hispanic/14684211/
  7. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters
  8. https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/16/the-competitive-advantage-of-diversity/
  9. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2015/07/21/why-diversity-matters-your-tech-company/30419871/#
  10. http://fas.columbia.edu/highlights/news/how-diversity-deflates-price-bubbles