Diversity issues related to the high-tech industry can’t be missed in the news today. Whether it is a story about pay inequity among men and women, or research showing that the industry workforce composition is largely homogeneous, the headlines are unavoidable. CompTIA’s new research found that 7 in 10 people working in the high-tech industry today say they have heard or read about workplace diversity issues in the last 12 months.
And that has sparked much discussion. This report reflects the views and experiences of high-tech workers of all races, genders, ages and job roles on the topics of diversity and inclusion.
The diversity discussion is often contradictory
Consider the following data points: nearly 8 in 10 high-tech industry workers say they are satisfied with their organization’s diversity efforts, 44% say diversity is a high priority for their employers, and 87% say they’ve worked in a department comprised of a diverse group of employees in the last year. At the same time, 45% say the industry has lagged in promoting diversity, a position backed by statistics from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that find a workforce overwhelmingly white and male, with fewer African Americans, women and Hispanics than non-tech industries.
The gender gap is widest when it comes to pay equity
Pay inequity resonates loudly with women, no surprise. Two-thirds of women in high tech said they would leave their job if they discovered pay imbalances among employees doing equal work. That compares with 44% of men who said the same. Promotions are an issue too. A report last year by non-profit Ascend Foundation found that Asian Americans were least likely of all races to reach management level despite having more workers in the sector than other non-white races.
Diverse workforces spur innovation
Sixty-four percent of respondents said they agree that an organization with a heterogeneous employee base is more likely to produce world-class innovation than one with that is largely homogeneous in makeup. Another 28% at least partially agree with that premise, while just 9% disagree. The near-consensus on diversity’s impact on innovation spans all segments of the survey sample, including small, medium and large organizations, all age groups, genders, races and ethnicities.
Hiring the most qualified candidate carries weight
Of all the actions that an organization can take to get a passing grade when it comes to diversity, hiring the best candidate for the job tops the list. Forty-eight percent of respondents said this is what they value most. Other things they find important: a human resources department that actively recruits a diverse workforce; a top-down corporate culture that is diversity-friendly; an environment where diversity efforts do not overshadow all other strategic goals; formal inclusion initiatives to reduce turnover among minority employees; and the existence of an official diversity policy/report.