How One Facebook Group is Tackling Tech Inclusion
A new report says the tech industry is still failing at diversity. Here is how one Facebook group is changing the status quo.
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In 2014, several major technolog
y employers in Silicon Vally, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, began reporting on the diversity of their workforce. Two years later, 33 tech companies gathered at the White House, pledging to "recruit, retain and advance underrepresented talent, to publish data annually on the demographics of their workforce, and to invest in partnerships that would build a larger pipeline of diverse candidates." The number of companies pledging greater transparency and effort around inclusivity issues grew to 80 by 2017.
But the tech landscape today is still much like it was in 2014, according to the Leaky Tech Pipeline, a new report released by Kapor Center for Social Impact. 90% of employees at Google and and Microsoft are white or Asian, and less than one in four employees at Intel, Cisco or Microsoft are female. Women and leaders of color are still far less likely to hold positions of leadership,
That is not to say that these efforts have not led to a greater awareness for the need to be proactive in hiring a more diverse workforce. A growing number of today's startups like Chime, a banking startup focused on the millennial market, are looking to diversify.
Chime is in growth mode after closing on $18 Million Series B about six months ago, and Chime's leaders are actively seeking resources to help identify qualified talent from a more diverse pool of candidates.
Says Rahul Gupta, an engineering manager at Chime, "It's my responsibility to build teams that will effectively collaborate to solve problems by offering solutions from different perspectives. A diverse engineering team gets us closer and closer to making the best decisions."
But finding a more diverse pool of candidates isn't always easy for someone based in Silicon Valley. To increase a broader range of candidates, Gupta reached out to an online Facebook community managed by Tech Inclusion, an initiative using conferences, workshops and events around the globe to bring more visibility to the issue.
Founded by Wayne Sutton and Melinda Briana Epler, Tech Inclusion's Facebook group has grown to over 2200 members.
"As a woman executive in the entertainment, engineering and tech industries, I reached the glass ceiling and dealt with daily obstacles simply because of my gender. At one point, I had enough and decided that the greatest impact I could make in this world is to use my skills in change management to change the tech industry," says Epler. "So I left my job as an executive to start Change Catalyst and our Tech Inclusion programs with Wayne Sutton."
The Facebook group has quickly grown into an easy online platform where members can share information, ask questions, or engage with other members.
Gupta's request for help garnered immediate responses from many who are focused on helping employers find more diverse employees, including
Gupta says the resources are helpful to his team since inclusion is equally important for making sure his company is appealing to their targeted audience.
"Just as important: two-thirds of Chime members are millennials. If we aren't able to diversify our teams we run the risk of developing the wrong product. Our banking products impact the daily lives hundreds of thousands of Americans -- very time an employee can see what we're building and identify a blind spot, we win as an organization."