New Data Shows Diversity Is Declining in Silicon ValleyNovember 10, 2011
Workplace diversity is a sensitive but important item of discussion in America. Earlier this week, I wrote an entry about an interview with Carlos Orta, the President & CEO of Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, which focused on how to improve Hispanic representation in the boardroom and in STEM fields. Coincidentally, this topic is up for discussion again following an article in CNN which discussed workplace diversity in Silicon Valley, home to many of the most innovative computer and tech firms.
According to the article, diversity information for some of the tech industry’s biggest and leading companies is hard to come by. Many firms have chosen not to open up, and others have even closely guarded their employment data. I can understand that these firms must protect their vital information, along with maintaining the privacy of their workforce. However, diversity is an important issue which must be addressed. Diversity affects the innovation of their products and services, and has a lasting impact on long term employment, income, and entrepreneurship for Hispanics and other underrepresented groups.
Unfortunately, I must admit that the data mentioned in the article does not come as too much of a surprise - the overwhelming majority of Silicon Valley’s high tech workforce is composed of white males. Hispanics, African Americans, and women of all races are underrepresented. In fact, data in 2008 showed a decline in workforce representation for Hispanics and Blacks. In the last several years, civil rights and advocacy organizations have placed an emphasis on minority representation in STEM careers and on explaining the “business case” for diversity.
In the coming years, Hispanics will have to work hard to reverse this trend. Analysts say that a focus on improving the numbers of minorities in technical, science, and engineering based programs will allow firms to select from a more diverse candidate pool. To do this, there needs to be an additional emphasis on demonstrating the value and rewarding aspects of obtaining technical degrees. And of course, early education and a greater focus on science and math at early ages will ensure that diverse populations have the aptitude to obtain degrees in STEM fields.
I feel that with continued work and advocacy, Hispanics will see vast improvements in representation in STEM fields and in Silicon Valley. The article points out that Asian Americans have been very successful in obtaining high employment figures in STEM careers and in Silicon Valley. With a greater emphasis on education, technological access, and a commitment to diversity, we may just well see more Hispanics pursuing STEM fields and ultimately becoming major contributors to future innovation that will most certainly contribute to the country’s economic growth and well-being.This entry was posted in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and tagged diversity, Silicon Valley. Bookmark the permalink. ← Is Diversity and Recognition of Hispanics in the Private Sector Growing? Study Shows Hispanics Lag in Broadband Access →