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New Research Shows That Diversity in Tech Is Getting Worse

Top tech companies tried for years to keep their diversity numbers private, with a few even going so far as to start a lawsuit to prevent a reporter from investigating, claiming it could possibly hurt their companies if competitors got insight into their business practices.

Top tech companies tried for years to keep their diversity numbers private, with a few even going so far as to start a lawsuit to prevent a reporter from investigating, claiming it could possibly hurt their companies if competitors got insight into their business practices.

(Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano/Flickr

Despite that, the people at Information Is Beautiful have put out a, yes, beautiful graph of the top 18 tech companies, including Google, Apple, and Facebook, giving us a picture of their employee landscape.

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This graph, which ranks companies by gender and race and compares them to the general U.S. population, paints a picture of an overwhelmingly white and male-dominated workforce. It should be noted that the graph doesn’t present a ratio of workers to executives, so we have no way of knowing what upper-management looks like in this snapshot, although it doesn’t take much imagination to guess.

Although there are more women living in Silicon Valley than men, their numbers in the workforce are actually decreasing, dropping to 33 percent in 2005, down from 37 percent in 1999. In the same amount of time, black and hispanic employees dropped 16 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

We’ll have to wait and see if norms change with more information about hiring ratios being public and hopefully permeating public consciousness. Saturday Night Live cast member Sasheer Zamata commented on the lack of diversity in tech giants like Google and Apple, noting that there is not a single emoji representing black people available among 800-plus emojis on iPhone apps. Although this may seem silly, emojis are just one way cultural norms are established non-verbally. It’s easy to argue that this qualifies as a microaggression.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think there is a lack of diversity in tech? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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Patricia G. Barnes

I recently wrote a book, Betrayed: The Legalization of Age Discrimination in the Workplace, showing that age discrimination is epidemic in America and is trickling down to ever younger workers. Unless this changes, it is just a question of time before the 80 percent of all workers in Silicon Valley who are age 30 or below discover how little cache they have at ages 35 and 40 and beyond. It is not sustainable to work 50 -60 hours a week indefinitely. You can’t raise a family that way. And one mental or physical illness can quickly derail a career. The… Read more »

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