Why Millennials Are Demanding Even More Diversity In Tech
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By Anna Johansson,
The lack of diversity in big businesses is far-reaching, affecting corporations all over the country, but one location has epitomized the diversity problem more than any other: Silicon Valley. A whopping 76% of technical jobs are held by men, and blacks and Latinos only make up 5% of the workforce. While some corporations have made major efforts to step up their diversity and inclusion programs, others have been more resistant to move.
Millennials, especially, are putting more pressure on Silicon Valley, and the tech industry as a whole, to make changes or face the consequences. But why is this the case?
Why Millennials Want More
Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons why Millennials, specifically, need the tech industry to step up its diversity and inclusion game:
By now, you’ve likely heard about the memo circulating at Google, written by a concerned software engineer, about the “ideological echo chamber” within Google (but with implications for Silicon Valley and the tech industry as a whole). Widely accused of being misogynist and blind to the scale of the diversity problem, the document is fairly soft in its accusations, with the author explicitly stating that he values diversity and inclusion, acknowledges the presence of sexism, and doesn’t endorse stereotypes.
However, he cites biological and psychological differences between men and women that are responsible for fewer women applying for tech jobs. His assertion is that natural differences in interest, rather than sexist or racist practices, are responsible for the gap, and that tech leaders should only focus on interested applicants.
Millennials would be inclined to disagree. Rather than wanting companies to hit specific demographic targets or treat people of all backgrounds equally, Millennials are focused on respecting individual identities, and creating a bigger business impact (according to a Deloitte survey).
Generally, they’d rather see a handful of people from diverse backgrounds come together to influence the future of these companies than influence a wave of applications and minorities in low-level positions just to hit a numerical target. The problem isn’t a representational one (necessarily), it’s an ideological and cultural one, and tech leaders aren’t doing much to fix it; that’s why Millennials, more than any generation, are pressing to transform that culture.
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