No major improvements in minorities' upward mobility, study finds
There have been no major improvements in upward mobility to executive positions for racial minorities in Bay Area tech companies, according to an eight-year analysis of EEOC data by the Ascend Foundation. When race and gender are factored in, women belonging to racial minorities are less likely than male peers to become executives.
Asians make up the largest racial group among tech professionals yet are among the least likely to find success on the promotion ladder. Asian women were the least likely of all race-gender combinations to become executives.
Compared to executives from two years ago, the racial gap between white and minority women is worse now than the gender gap and the male racial gap is larger than the gender gap among white workers.
The lack of representation of women and minorities in the general and tech workforce has improved significantly in recent years, but there is still a long way to go. Only 19% of CIOs and 18% of computer science majors are women.
Most companies are hard at work strengthening internal diversity, and failing to do so have huge costs. McKinsey estimates eliminating gender bias alone could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. Seemingly progressive companies like Google can be bogged down for weeks following diversity scandals.
Oracle made the news in January when the U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against it, alleging discriminatory practices which gave lower compensation to African American, Asian and female employees compared to their white male counterparts.
Besides ethical and moral necessities, a diverse workforce is needed to eliminate biases within technology. Unconscious biases have arisen in algorithms and artificial intelligence, and as these technologies are applied in areas like hiring, credit scoring and criminal sentencing, problems quickly arise.
- Ascend Foundation The Illusion of Asian Success
Follow Alex Hickey on Twitter