There was once a time when everyone knew it deep in their hearts that industries like tech, finance, banking and consulting amongst others were super white and male-dominated. It makes you wonder how things have changed over the years and which aspects have improved, if so, after the Silicon Valley tech bubble was created…
When it all started….
Raise your hand if you have heard before the term “Executive Order 9981”. I bet you are not doing so… In 1948, President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 to desegregate the armed services which some scholars cite as the first diversity initiative in the workplace. The Executive Order 9981 required equality of treatment and opportunity in the armed services, however it did not expressly forbid segregation. As a result of this order, by 1953, 95% of African American Army soldiers were serving in integrated units. In the 1960’s, social and political changes resulted in the passage of civil rights legislation that prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and later on, age. In 1987 the secretary of labor, William Brock commissioned a study of economic and demographic trends that became the landmark book “Workforce 2000 – Work and Workers in the Twenty First Century”. Workforce 2000 highlighted five demographic factors that would impact the U.S. labor market and the motivation for diversity initiatives in the workplace:
1. The population and the workforce will grow more slowly than at any time since the 1930s.
2. The average age of the population and the workforce will rise, and the pool of young workers entering the labor market will shrink.
3. More women will enter the workforce.
4. Minorities will be a larger share of the new entrants into the labor force.
5. Legal and illegal immigrants will represent the largest share of the increase in the population and the workforce since World War I.
The trends suggested that diversifying the workforce was a one way street if companies were to remain competitive and able to attract workers.
“It’s hard to define what diversity is because everyone has an opinion.”
Are techies becoming the new bankers?
It’s no secret that the tech industry has struggled, and in some cases failed when it comes to building inclusive workplaces where women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and other underrepresented groups are adequately represented. In 2014 several tech companies including Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft, released their first diversity reports, which showed what many people already knew: The majority of tech workers are white and male. Can it be that we all tend to hire people that are a lot like ourselves?
2018 has been an enormous year for the global technology ecosystem, with new initiatives, companies and technologies emerging that truly have the potential to change the world. Karma raised its Series A to continue its fight against food waste; Zinc, the company builder solving the developed world’s toughest social issues, launched its second mission to help people hit hardest by automation and globalisation; Zola, The RealReal, 23andMe and ClassPass raised some of the largest funding rounds of 2018; Stitch Fix stock was up 80% since its IPO in November 2017; the first CRISPR clinical trial began in Europe for people with blood disorders; The common thread connecting each of the companies above is that they all have female founders. Coincidence or a well thought diversity and inclusion plan of action?
According to data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, at the executive level, more than 83 percent of executives are white, and 80 percent are men, compared to the overall private sector where 71 percent of executives are men and 83 percent are white.Technology has a diversity problem that all are aware of. The last two years though, there has been a shift in culture in the tech world with more and more companies responding with initiatives to disparities in pay, ratio of male and female in leadership teams and overall number of women working in tech. A 2019 report by the Center for Talent Innovation outlines that black professionals had held just 3,3% of all senior or executive leadership roles in the U.S the previous year. Women are also still underrepresented in the tech industry, averaging 34.4% of the workforce across big tech companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, according to Statistica.
The culture of a company can be a major factor of its success. At Beat, we strive to help people improve their quality of life and we start from within. Our people are our success story and differentiator. We cultivate a culture of equality and a healthy inspiring environment for each individual to evolve according to their own abilities and unique talent. Women building the technology in Beat for a better urban life represent the 43% of our workforce with the 38% of them holding a manager position. Full of BEAT PRIDE, for us stands for:
we kicked off 2020 with an extended number of people participating in the initiative from all different departments in Beat. Aim of the squad is to educate people, involve managers and leaders so as to be on the frontline driving the progress and to make sure everyone’s voice is heard and opinions are considered. Our aim is to formulate a dream team in pursuit of ambitious common goals. This is where we learn the most, perform our best, and improve the fastest. Not to mention, it’s where we have the most fun!