In Focus: Tech Industry Struggles with Diversity and Male Discontent

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek August 15, 2017
In Focus: Tech Industry Struggles with Diversity and Male Discontent

Software engineer James Damore's lengthy antidiversity "manifesto" criticizing Google's efforts on behalf of women is the latest reminder of how many major tech companies are struggling with diversity and how their efforts to address it are fueling discontent in some corners. In some cases, white men are filing lawsuits claiming discrimination.

However, there are some steps—while not flashy or headline-grabbing—that an organization can take to make it more appealing to women and minorities, including making changes to their processes and workplace culture. 

It's Not Just Google — Many Major Tech Companies Struggling with Diversity

Here's a look at major tech companies' comparative diversity, according to their most recent reports. Women make up at most 30 percent of leadership roles and less than 27 percent of technical roles at these companies. (Recode)

White Male Discontent Has Come to the Tech Industry

While gender discrimination complaints aren't uncommon in the tech industry, they are usually made by women, who are outnumbered by nearly 3 to 1. But in his memo, Damore complained that efforts at Google to boost diversity were themselves a form of discrimination that are "unfair, divisive, and bad for business."

Google isn't the only Silicon Valley employer being accused of hostility to white men.

Yahoo! Inc. and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. were already fighting discrimination lawsuits brought by white men before Damore ignited a firestorm. (Fortune)   

Lessons Companies Can Learn from Google's Diversity Travails

If you're a big, powerful, name-brand company in 2017, the public is going to judge you based on both the diversity of your workforce and how welcoming a place your company is for members of minority groups. The problem is that this pressure leads some companies to take big, flashy, headline-grabbing diversity moves that don't accomplish anything. (New York Magazine)     

How to Hire More Women in Tech Sales

Oftentimes, unconsciously or otherwise, hiring managers discriminate against female sales candidates, says Elizabeth Onishuk, talent acquisition manager at Workable, in a blog post. They perceive women as limited by familial responsibilities or less likely to travel for a prospect at the drop of a hat. They may even think that women are neither technical nor aggressive enough. Onishuk, who previously ran her own HR consulting firm, shares what Workable did to hire more women in tech sales. (Workable blog)


Women Who Work for Google Are Highly Satisfied with the Company — with One Glaring Exception

There's been a nonstop parade of people opining about Google and its treatment of women in the aftermath of the controversial memo on diversity and conservatism, and the firing of its author. Women at Google say they like working for the company but don't rate their opportunities for advancement as high as the men do, according to Glassdoor's data. One reason: They are outnumbered in every way. (Business Insider)


[SHRM members-only Member2Member Solutions: Your Culture Shapes What Your Business Becomes

Viewpoint: Women Are Leaving Tech and Management Is Responsible

As managers, when any member of our team mistreats women in our organization, we are responsible. We set the tone, culture, and values for the company. We say what behaviors are acceptable and allowed. We either act or turn away when those values are violated. (Code Like A Girl)

The Opinion Pages: The Ways Tech Companies Alienate Women

A consultant writes about his experience with companies interested in helping diversity some of America's most gender-unbalanced tech teams. A well-meaning executive, he says, will boast about the company financially supporting nonprofit coding organizations that aim to train female engineers, for example. What the executives don't give as much thought to are some of the simplest determinants of how successful a company will be in hiring diverse candidates. Will women have any input in the hiring process? Will the interview panels be diverse? Will current female employees be available to speak to candidates about their experiences? Many times, the answer to each of these questions is no. (The New York Times


Top 10 Companies for Diversity in Tech, Ranked by Their Underrepresented Employees

The firestorm surrounding Damore's memo is reflective of larger problems with gender and racial diversity throughout Silicon Valley. Even at companies where engineers aren't circulating arguments for why their employers should dismantle diversity programs, these ideas are pervasive. 

The jobs site Comparably has a new report out this week ranking Silicon Valley employers by how they're doing at diversity. When it comes to gender, Google does not make the top 10 (although the company is one of the top ranked for racial diversity). (Mashable


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