For years, the technology industry has wrestled mightily with issues related to diversity and inclusion. Tech companies large and small have worked to diversify their employee ranks, often by periodically retooling their talent pipelines and hiring practices. This summer, the nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism have highlighted many of these issues.
As part of Dice’s ongoing Sentiment Survey, we’ve begun asking technologists about whether their companies have been supporting these movements toward greater diversity and inclusion. Here’s what they’ve said; over the next few months, we’ll update these datasets in order to reveal deeper trends.
Has your company made internal or external statements supporting recent Black Lives Matter, Anti-Racist or diversity and inclusion movements?
A majority of companies have made internal and/or external gestures of support toward BLM or pro-diversity movements. However, a sizable percentage still have not. At least a few of the firms that haven’t formulated any sort of response are likely waiting to see how the broader situation develops; if that’s the case, expect that these percentages will shift in future surveys.
The lack of messaging might also reflect some companies’ internal demographics. “We also didn’t have a single non-white employee and I was the only woman outside of accounting,” one respondent wrote. In some cases, it might take a hard internal push by employees for companies to make a gesture.
Has your company recently made changes in policies or practices to help support Black Lives Matter, Anti-Racist or diversity and inclusion movements?
As with internal and external statements, it seems that the majority of companies haven’t been altering policies and practices to take the current movements into account.
Of course, it pays to note that, at many firms, diversity efforts were already underway, occasional setbacks aside. “We saw the largest increase in our hiring of Black+ technical employees that we have ever measured,” Google claimed in its most recent diversity report. “Job postings run through our bias removal tool resulted in an 11 percent increase in applications from women. We expanded a program for employees from underrepresented groups who were considering leaving, with 84 percent deciding to stay.”
Google isn’t the only company issuing diversity reports (and trying to adjust how it hires), but it’s indicative of the slow-but-study progress throughout the technology industry. In the eyes of some pundits, however, that progress has been too slow. In late 2019, for instance, Wired analyzed years’ worth of diversity reports and found that the major tech companies’ ranks hadn’t diversified all that much.
“At Google and Microsoft, the share of U.S. technical employees who are black or Latinx rose by less than a percentage point since 2014,” the magazine reported. “The share of black technical workers at Apple is unchanged at 6 percent, less than half blacks’ 13 percent share of the U.S. population.”
How impressed have you been with your company’s response to recent Black Lives Matter, Anti-Racist or diversity and inclusion movements?
A majority of technologists were either neutral or positive on this question, suggesting that companies have been executing strategies that align with employee sentiments. “We were already vocally supporting the BLM movement prior to George Floyd’s murder,” one respondent wrote.
Others weren’t quite as sold on their company’s actions. “[There] would have to be a change in the first place if I were to be impressed,” another technologist said.
How important is it to you that your company do the following regarding recent Black Lives Matter, Anti-Racist or diversity and inclusion movements?
Even if their companies haven’t been shifting policies to take the current sociopolitical moment into account, it seems that lots of technologists want their employers to enact some kind of change, whether it’s launching an internal discussion/education about diversity, making an external show of support, or having leaders talk about how diversity will factor into overall strategy going forward.
If we record only the “top two” responses (i.e., those respondents who marked either a 4 or 5, suggesting very high/extreme importance), things become still clearer: Technologists really want their leadership talking about these issues, and they want their companies to continue to promote internal discussion and education. This suggests that companies should open up and encourage as much dialogue as possible around these issues.