Do We Have a Diversity Problem in Tech? In short, yes.
Written on: 13 October 2017
Written by: Baltic Apprenticeships
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The lack of representation of minority groups in technology has been a topic that has been at the forefront of discussion in the tech industry, even more so following the infamous Google Memo, and the recent Grace Hopper Celebration. Since then, influential figures have been calling out for more representation, and to address the issue of diversity in tech.
Today, Denise Young Smith, Apple’s new Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, has recently added to the conversation about diversity in Silicon Valley. Young Smith diverts from the current dialogue on diversity completely, offering this:
“There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”
If 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men is the measure for success in diversity in tech, then I can wholeheartedly say that we achieved this years ago.
The tech industry is a sea of white men, take it from Melinda Gate’s keynote speech at the GHC. In fact, white men occupy 80% of tech roles at Apple according to their diversity figures, that can be found here. Globally, these figures drop to 70% once we include non-tech roles too. Meaning women only hold 20% of tech jobs, which is slightly better than the fact only 17% of the tech jobs in the UK are held by women.
Diversity is defined, by dictionary.com, as:
“The condition of having or being composed of differing elements (variety) especially the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures).”
Whilst diversity of personalities and stories will always exist in any group of people, it is clear that cultural and racial differences do impact world views. A room full of white men still have white and male privilege that inform their viewpoints. We need to include those who historically, and even recently, have less political and socio-economic power than ourselves. This is diversity.
Without diversity in the world, we limit ourselves massively to our potential. Companies with diversity are proven to statistically outperform their competition, therefore diversity has an advantage in business alone.
Young Smith continues, “I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of colour, or the women, or the LGBT.”
Of course, we focus the term of diversity on the groups who are lacking representation in the industry. Whilst only 14% of board seats are occupied by women in top 100 technology companies across the globe, and only 32% of positions in top companies are occupied by non-white ethnicities, then we still have work to do.
At Baltic, we value diversity, you can read about our equality and diversity policies here.