What are some things you wish more people understood about the current state of tech and diversity? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
I wish more people understood that diversifying tech is crucial to its continued success.
Silicon Valley may have functioned well so far without diversity, but according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, it won’t be for much longer. They predict that in just two years there will be 1.4 million open computer science related jobs and only 400,000 qualified candidates.
That’s 1 million unfilled computer science jobs within the next two years.
There are several underrepresented groups in tech, but I’ll stick to discussing the dearth of women since the 50:50 gender split in the US workforce gives us an easy baseline.
Although the total US workforce is approximately half male, half female, within STEM jobs, men outnumber women 4 to 1. (https://www.ncwit.org/resources/numbers) Furthermore, in 1985, approximately 35% of computer science graduates were women; compared to only approximately 17% today. (Women in Computer Science | ComputerScience.org) Of the women who actually make it into today's computer programming workforce, approximately 41% leave their careers over time because of the hostile work environment. The pipeline’s not looking good.
As technology use continues to grow, the number of technology related jobs will grow as well and Silicon Valley won't be able to pull from just a portion of the population to meet that demand.
According to this article in TechRepublic — 5 eye-opening statistics about minorities in tech — ramping up diversity efforts in the IT industry could result in $400 billion more revenue per year. It cites this quote by CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux, "Financially a one percentage point move toward representative diversity leads to a three-point increase in revenue. ... Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and gender diversity are more likely to surpass industry norms for revenue and operating margin. Companies in the bottom quartile for diversity aren't just lagging behind, they are rapidly losing ground."
Numbers aside, tech is about innovation. New voices are necessary for continued innovation and with diverse perspectives come the added potential to appeal to a broader market.
In about 25 years, the Pew Research Center predicts that the majority of people in the US will be people of color; so of the minority babies born in the US today, a good portion must end up in STEM careers for tech to continue to thrive.
Tech’s diversity issue needs to be taken seriously ASAP.
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