Unlocking Innovation: Addressing the Lack of Diversity in the Tech Industry

Berthine Crèvecoeur West, MA, EMBA, CDE®
As the CEO of Westbridge Solutions, LLC, Berthine possesses an extensive background in rectifying organizational challenges, capitalizing on employee/internal strengths, and transforming widespread DEI initiatives into reformative realities that benefit society as a collective.

I love data. (Like, really love it!) I love tech. Data provides us with insights that show us the past, the present and the future. It tells us the truth and empowers us to be agile and innovative. Data and technology are closely related, as technology is often used to collect, store, process, and analyze data. The relationship between data and technology can be thought of as a feedback loop, with technology driving the collection and analysis of data, which in turn leads to new technological advancements.

However, there is a growing body of research that suggests a lack of diversity in the tech industry is leading to products and services that don’t adequately serve marginalized communities.

Quantitatively, data shows that the tech industry has a significant representation gap when it comes to underrepresented groups, particularly women and people of color. For example, a 2020 report from the National Center for Women & Information Technology found that only 26% of professional computing jobs were held by women. Similarly, a 2020 report from the Kapor Center for Social Impact found that Black and Latino/a/x/e individuals made up only 9% and 8% of the tech workforce, respectively.

Qualitatively, studies have found that a lack of diversity in tech can lead to products and services that don’t take into account the needs and perspectives of marginalized communities. For example, a 2018 study published in the Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction found that facial recognition technology is less accurate when applied to individuals with darker skin tones. Another example, a 2019 study by the AI Now Institute found that bias in training data can lead to biased outcomes in natural language processing systems, which can perpetuate discrimination against marginalized groups.

Overall, the lack of diversity in the tech industry is not only a problem in terms of representation, but also in terms of the potential impact on marginalized communities.

One possible solution to address the lack of diversity in tech is to implement targeted recruitment and retention initiatives for underrepresented groups. This can include actively reaching out to and recruiting diverse candidates, offering mentorship and sponsorship programs for underrepresented individuals, and creating a culture that values and supports diversity and inclusion.

Some specific strategies that companies can implement include:

  • Partnering with organizations that support underrepresented groups in tech, such as CODE2040, Black Girls Code, and the National Society of Black Engineers.
  • Offering targeted scholarships and training programs to attract and retain diverse talent.
  • Providing unconscious bias training to hiring managers and employees to help combat bias in the recruitment and promotion process.
  • Establishing employee resource groups (ERGs) for underrepresented groups to foster a sense of community and provide support and mentorship.
  • Regularly tracking and reporting on diversity metrics and setting specific diversity targets to hold the company accountable for progress.
  • Creating an inclusive work environment and culture by promoting a code of conduct that prohibits discrimination, promoting policies that support work-life balance, and encouraging open communication and feedback.

It’s important to note that implementing these solutions alone is not enough, it needs to be a continuous effort and a part of the company culture.

In conclusion, the lack of diversity in the tech industry is a significant problem that has negative consequences for both underrepresented groups and the industry as a whole. However, there are steps that companies can take to address this issue, such as implementing targeted recruitment and retention initiatives.

At Westbridge Solutions, we believe that diversity and inclusion are key drivers of success in the tech industry. We offer a range of solutions to help companies improve their diversity and inclusion practices, including recruiting strategies, training programs, and employee resource groups.

We invite companies that are committed to diversity and inclusion to contact us to learn more about how we can help them achieve their goals. Whether you’re just starting to think about diversity and inclusion or you’re looking to take your efforts to the next level, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

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