For years, the tech industry has wrestled with ways to make its workforce more diverse, inclusive, and equitable. Despite devoting immense attention and resources to this endeavor, however, progress has been slow.
But that’s no reason to give up hope: Data from Dice’s second annual Equality in Tech Report makes it clear that organizations’ diversity and inclusion efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by most technologists. Across the board, percentages of technologists who are impressed with their organization’s efforts improved in 2021.
This year, 39% of Black technologists were moderately or extremely impressed with their company’s response to diversity and equity movements (up from 38% in 2020), 41% of Asian/Pacific Islander technologists were impressed (up from 38%), 48% of Asian Indian technologists were impressed (up from 46%), 40% of Hispanic/Latino(a) technologists were impressed (up from 35%) and the largest jump came from White technologists, 44% of whom were impressed with their company’s response (up from 36%).
While technologist sentiment around the importance of their company’s policies and practices supporting Black Lives Matter, anti-racist and other racial diversity and inclusion movements remains strong, with 51% of technologists indicating this is moderately or extremely important to them, the importance weighs differently for each demographic group.
Black technologists place most importance on this at 70%, indicating moderate to extreme importance, which is nearly unchanged from 2020. All other racial and ethnic groups saw increases in responses indicating moderate to extreme importance: Asian Indian technologists at 62% (up from 57% in 2020), Hispanic/Latino(a) at 57% (up from 50%), Asian/Pacific Islander technologists at 56% (up from 48%) and White technologists at 49% (up from 43%).
An organization’s reputation for being diverse, equitable and inclusive is similarly important to technologists. Nearly half of respondents (48%) indicated that an organization’s reputation regarding DEI factors into their decision to work for that organization, although the range of perceived influence varies by racial group. More than two-thirds (69%) of Black technologists said an organization’s reputation factored into their decision (up from 65% last year), followed by Asian Indian technologists at 61% (up from 53% in 2020), Asian/Pacific Islander technologists at 55% (up from 51%), Hispanic/Latino(a) technologists at 57% (up from 50%) and White technologists at 45% (up from 41%). Importance was up year-over-year across all groups, suggesting an organization’s reputation regarding DEI is key to attracting and retaining tech talent.
Given technologist sentiment around the importance of DEI in the organizations they work for (and interview with), it’s evident that companies must continue to push forward toward their DEI goals. It may take years for some of these efforts to truly move the needle. There’s a clear need for this work: Technologists believe that a diverse workforce yields positive effects, including a lift in company morale, collaboration and innovation.
For example, diverse thinking can improve product development and spur the creation of products for new audiences. It can also enhance company culture, creating a standard of inclusion and belonging. And these benefits support the generation of 19-33% more revenue by inclusive organizations when compared to their peers, according to The Diversity Movement.
At a time when companies are competing fiercely for talent while also seeking any advantage over the competition, an effective program (or more impactful, an organization-wide commitment integrating DEI into every strategy, department and initiative) can have a substantial real-world impact on hiring the best people, improving the bottom line and ultimately ensuring company success. In the meantime, however, the tech industry must take a hard look at the data and consider how to best adjust policies to deliver better results. There may still be a dissonance in how organizations are viewing the impact of their efforts internally, and in how the most impacted groups are seeing the efforts play out in reality.
Dice’s Equality in Tech report offers much more on the current state of diversity, equity and inclusion within tech. Read it to see how the industry is doing its best to move forward into a more equitable future.