By the year 2044, more than half of all Americans will belong to a minority group, currently classified as any racial or ethnic group besides non-Hispanic white. According to Cyberstates, the technology sector represents over 10% of the U.S. economy and employs 7.6% of the U.S. workforce, making the tech industry one of the largest employers in the country. Although the United States’ population is rapidly diversifying, and the workforce is expanding, the push for racial and gender diversity across tech is moving at a snail’s pace.
Megan Rose Dickey’s June 2019 article on the future of diversity and inclusion in tech noted this push for diversity began over 10 years ago. In 2007, Anil Dash published an essay in which he claimed diversity is a “matter of life and death.” Although he feared this article would end his career, Dash, a cofounder of ThinkUp, explained how diversity is absolutely essential for company survival. While we've come a long way since 2007, the current statistics scream how far we have to go to make real change.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently compared employment in high tech to the private sector. High tech includes employees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as those in the production of electronic and computer-based goods and services. The high tech sector employs about a quarter of U.S. professionals and about 6% of the total labor force. They found high tech employed a greater share of white (68.5% tech vs. 63.5% private sector), Asian-American (14% tech vs. 5.8% private sector) and male employees (64% tech vs. 52% private sector), and a smaller share of African-American (7.4% tech vs. 14.4% private sector), Hispanic (8% tech vs. 13.9% private sector), and female employees (36% tech vs. 48% private sector).
Source: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Total Employment in High Tech is N= 5,341,599 and Private Industries is N=57,399,178)
This research by the EEOC highlights that although the percentage is slightly higher in tech, positions in tech and all private industries are dominated by white talent, followed by women (at about half the rate of their male counterparts). Further digging into tech stats reveal those discrepancies are found both in the overall positions at the company as well as leadership roles. Facebook’s 2019 diversity report breaks down their workforce into all roles, technical, business & sales, and senior leadership. Currently, all roles are 63% male, technical positions are 77% male, and senior leadership roles are 67% male. Similarly, Google’s 2019 diversity report shows that the global workforce is 68% male; leadership positions are 74% male.
While many tech giants struggle to diversify their companies, a growing number of companies are making strides. Comparably, a workplace culture and compensation review site, ranked the top 10 diverse tech companies of 2017. Salesforce, Adobe, and Intuit ranked in the top three for gender diversity and VMWare, Disney, and LinkedIn rated in the top three for racial diversity. And yet these rankings must be taken with a grain of salt—scores are based on how employees rate their experiences at these companies, not actual diversity numbers.
A diverse workforce is a business imperative
Diversity in the workplace is now a vital aspect of good business. A diversified workforce drives innovation and increases revenue. Research shows that companies with more women on the board outperform their competitors. And there is a clear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and improved financial performance. For every 10% increase in racial and ethnic diversity on a senior executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8%. For example, companies in the top 25% for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry’s median.
As noted in G2’s 2019 HR trends, one of the biggest hurdles to creating a diverse workforce is curbing unconscious bias in the hiring process. Many companies set diversity goals with HR personnel to meet a specific company standard. To do so, they need to design clear roadmaps to achieve gender, ethnic, cultural, and generational diversity. As companies strive to hire a more diverse workforce, a growing number of technology solutions aimed at helping HR personnel has emerged.
Software’s impact on diversity
This post is the first of a monthly series about diversity and inclusion in tech, and more importantly, about the different technology solutions that improve diversity and inclusion throughout an organization.
As a market analyst focused on HR solutions, I research and write about HR-based software often, including topics such as use cases, vendors that create solutions, and the reviewers that rely on them. I created the diversity recruiting software space in January 2019 to reflect this growing industry and I am eager to keep a close eye on it as it continues to grow.
Diversity recruiting software
When we created the diversity recruiting software category, it included 10 products, 6 of which were already listed in other G2 categories. As of August 2019, there are 26 products in our diversity recruiting software category. These products represent a large range of solutions that help companies improve diversity hiring initiatives. Over the past six months, visits to our diversity recruiting software page has increased 59% and total active buyers are up 119%.
What is diversity recruiting software?
Diversity recruiting software helps companies, HR personnel, hiring managers, and recruitment professionals set diversity as a central focus of the hiring process. These tools provide solutions throughout the entire hiring process, from job description creation to measuring diversity metrics.
This new software category includes tools that provide solutions to improve diversity recruiting processes. This is a relatively new space that is quickly growing and expanding; therefore, not every tool provides the exact same features. Some focus on removing bias from job descriptions, while others help companies improve their interviewing process. Some others are great at sourcing from diverse talent pools, and some do more than one of these features well.
Features of diversity recruiting software
- Write inclusive job descriptions
- Source candidates from underrepresented groups
- Eliminate unconscious bias from the interviewing process
- Measure diversity hiring initiatives
Inclusive job descriptions
Writing inclusive job descriptions minimizes biased language that might appeal only to young, male, white applicants. Diverse job description software removes gender, race, age, ageism, and disability biases as well as improves the overall readability to increase the talent pool. Some tools analyze job descriptions and suggest improvements to make the language more inclusive, while others highlight gendered wording in job descriptions to help reduce biased language.
For example, including the language “salary negotiable” can help reduce the gender wage gap by 45%. Meanwhile, a study found that women hesitate to apply for jobs with descriptions using masculine words, such as “battle,” “dominant,” or “force.” The study concluded that women found job descriptions with masculine words, “less appealing and interesting, compared with the same types of jobs advertised with feminine wording.”
Sourcing candidates from underrepresented groups expands the talent pool, helping recruiters and hiring managers identify qualified candidates. Diverse job boards help companies reach diverse talent. These often provide platforms that engage candidates of different groups.
Eliminating bias from resumes and interviews
Diversity recruiting software can eliminate bias from the resume evaluation process by redacting any information that might cause bias against a candidate including name, background, gender, and education. Eliminating unconscious bias from the interviewing process helps keep interviewers focused on the candidate’s skills and abilities. Diversity recruiting software facilitates this approach, enabling interviewers to concentrate on what candidates can bring to the team and not on a “culture fit.”
Measuring diversity initiatives
Measuring diversity hiring initiatives help companies keep track of their efforts and determine what aspects of the hiring process need improvement.
According to CompTIA’s CEO, Todd Thibodeaux, diversifying the workforce has the potential to increase the IT industry’s revenue an additional $400 billion per year. During the keynote address at CompTIA's 2017 ChannelCon, Thibodeaux noted, "True diversity comes from engaging people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, from different parts of the world or country, and from different work and life experiences. It's gathering and utilizing a wide variety of opinions and ideas.”
Workplace diversity and inclusion are of the utmost importance. Follow along with me as I research and report on the ongoing impacts of software on diversity initiatives in tech and beyond.
Learn more about how AI-based solutions impact recruiting, candidate engagement, and career development. Check out our newest HR category addition, talent intelligence software, to learn more about how AI improves recruiting efforts.