Diversifying your IT workforce

It's time to turn your words of solidarity into action. Here's where to start.

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In June 2020, companies took to social media to express their support for Black Lives Matter after witnessing the traumatic death of George Floyd. Public displays of support ranged from tweeting pledges to listen and learn to posting black squares on Instagram and donating to Black Lives Matter and protest bail funds.

In what came as little surprise to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, many of these companies did not walk the talk and have since been identified as optical allies — a term coined by Latham Thomas?to describe “allyship that only serves at the surface level to platform the ‘ally.’” And as time went on, the deaths of Floyd and countless other Black people who inspired this social justice movement have faded into the chaos of 2020.

Against this backdrop, diversity has emerged as a critical driver of our ability to move forward as an industry. Diversifying the tech industry will not only help dismantle systemic oppression but also lead to better financial performance. Research continues to show that a diverse workforce – one with a wide range of voices, backgrounds and perspectives, gives birth to new ideas, increasing an organization’s capacity for disruptive innovation and building resilience to enable it to better endure a challenging market. Here’s how to get started diversifying your workforce.

Evaluate where you are today

Collect demographic data. An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report on Diversity in High Tech highlighted the disproportionate representation of the BIPOC community in tech. This disparity is highest in the executive ranks, where 83% of tech leaders identify as white, 10.6% as Asian American, 3.1% as Hispanic and 2% as African American. Since that report, which was based on data collected in 2014, very little progress has been made, a CNBC analysis found.

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