Much has been written about and is available about the lack of diversity within the tech field, particularly at larger social media firms and product companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple and others. Much has also been written about proposed causes for these diversity gaps, positing everything from systematic problems such as talent gaps and to structural problems such as human resource tactics and culture.
In the end the causes and solutions are both systemic and structural both short-term and long-term oriented. On the long term side, research has shown a digital divide among different demographics with regards to access to technology such as reliable internet and computing devices as well as with regards to use of such products, desktops and laptops vs. smartphones and tablets. These have broken out along racial and class lines with African-Americans, particularly those at lower income levels utilizing smartphone devices to access the internet while those with more affluence in some cases being white Americans, and other African-Americans utilizing the former. Access to technology among young people both within the home and within the school system impacts how we learn about technology and one’s interest in pursuing careers in it.
Women, while more prevalent in the workforce and the field, often struggle to obtain positions of leadership even when demonstrating successful professional track records. Often barriers they face are structural, systemic and cultural. Hispanic Americans represent the fastest growing minority within the country, yet struggle with entering the field as well. Surely solutions to these problems must occur in multiple places, including the home, our school systems and universities and within the corporations themselves.
Many organizations work hard every day advocating for more access for women, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Asian Americans among others within the technology workforce. These organizations promote, train, teach and reach out to young and old alike. Organizations working together can help to further galvanize these existing efforts bringing more attention to the need and to the solutions to bring increased diversity to the technology industry. Additionally it will be important for organizations across these various segments to work collectively together comprehensively addressing STEM education issues, digital divide and access issues, discrimination across all fronts and training both as long term pipelining issues and short-term HR strategies.