Tackling Diversity and Inclusion in Tech
In 2015, Intel established a $300 million fund to be used by 2020 to improve diversity. Caucasians make up 46.2 percent of the workforce at the company, and Asians 38.9 percent, according to Intel. Intel’s African American 2018 representation was better than at Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc, and Microsoft Corp, according to the companies’ latest data. Female representation was behind Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc , and only ahead of Microsoft. Overall, women comprised 26.8 percent of Intel’s U.S. workforce in 2018, up from 24.7 percent in 2015. Women in leadership positions grew to 20.7 percent from 17.7 percent.
Unfortunately, many tech companies aren’t investing time and effort in changing these traditional hiring practices. Traditionally, tech recruiting is biased toward candidates who went to an elite university and have worked at brand-name tech companies. For entry-level jobs, campus recruiters tend to place their efforts in top colleges, and often don’t focus their efforts on candidates from non-elite schools or non-degree programs like coding bootcamps. Even large tech companies face resource constraints when it comes to hiring. By default, they focus their energy on the schools that their existing employees come from. Company recruiters don’t often have insights on the return of investment of focusing on lesser-known colleges. Even when a nontraditional candidate does manage to make it through the first screening existing structures of tech recruiting make it hard for them to advance. For starters, engineers are asked to solve problems that are often theoretical in nature and has nothing to do with what they’ll be doing in their day-to-day job. For those not used to this interview format, one bad performance can be demoralizing and discourage them from pursuing further opportunities.
Intel's research reveals that employees who feel included are seven times more likely to stay at the company. But locating these new, diverse groups are only one part of the solution. There is no simple solution to bridge the gap and that there are many factors at play. Not only do underrepresented groups need better access to STEM education and careers, but company's cultures need to change and be more inclusive to retain those employees.