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Silicon Valley's Lack of Diversity Prominent for Black Coders

Silicon Valley’s Lack of Diversity Prominent for Black Coders

Silicon Valley’s lack of diversity is no secret. Major tech companies, such as Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have faced repeated pressure to publicly disclose their workforce demographics – the first time such reports were published was 2014. The statistics reinforce the notion of just how much progress needs to be made in order to achieve gender and racial equality in the tech industry.

A recurring pattern is displayed in all of these demographic reports: when it comes to the technology sector, women and minorities are vastly underrepresented in the workplace. The tech companies who have released 2015 diversity statistics have all admitted in their messages to the public an awareness that they need to drastically work on their diversity hiring.

Here is the diversity data for tech employees from major U.S. companies in 2015:

Apple

Race

53% White
25% Asian
8% Hispanic
7% Black
2% Two Or More Races
5% Undeclared
1% Other

Gender

79% male
22% female

Facebook

Race

51% White
43% Asian
3% Hispanic
2% Two Or More Races
1% Black
0% Other

Gender

84% Male
16% Female

Google

Race

59% White
35% Asian
3% Two Or More Races
2% Hispanic
1% Black
<1% Other

Gender

82% Men
18% Women

LinkedIn

Race

60% Asian
34% White
3% Hispanic
1% Black
1% Two Or More Races
<1% Other

Gender

83% Male
17% Female

Yahoo

Race

61% Asian
31% White
3% Hispanic
1% Black
1% Two Or More Races
3% Other

Gender

84% Male
16% Female

Twitter

Race

56% White
37% Asian
3% Hispanic
2% Two Or More Races
1% Black
<1% Other

Gender

87% Male
13% Female

In addition to the diversity challenges across the tech industry, a phenomenon known as “stereotype threat” has taken arisen, where “people from underrepresented backgrounds worry about confirming negative stereotypes about their group, lose confidence, and get discouraged” when applying, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

African Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, but not more than 1 percent of technical employees at many prominent companies in the Silicon Valley are black. Howard University, a historically black private college that was established in 1867, noticed this important statistic and have been taking measures to try to change this figure. Every year Legand Burge, the chair of Howard University’s computer science department, has been inviting tech companies to hire his students. By encouraging his students to enter programming competitions, and developing new courses on coding, creating applications, and launching startups, Burge has transformed his program “to start training students at the level of Silicon Valley’s top feeder schools.”

As reported by Bloomberg Businesweek, “People tend to discuss Silicon Valley’s diversity problem in binary terms. One camp says companies are biased against underrepresented minorities, or at least aren’t trying hard enough to attract them. The other says there aren’t enough people from these backgrounds who are qualified for positions – or at least who are good enough to beat those Stanford grads with all the programming trophies and internship experience and Mozart-like childhoods. The reality is, both are true.”

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