Early stage venture firm First Round surveyed more than 700 tech founders to discover “their thoughts on everything from over-hyped industries to what time employees came into work.” Of the 700 founders, about 83% were men and 17% were women.  In regards to questions on diversity, results show that there is a clear lack of commitment towards diversity hires.    

Now, I’ve stated before that, as it pertains to startup companies, diversity is not and should not be a priority.  Proof of concept and revenue generation should always trump all other issues.  Once those have been achieved, a strategic plan for growth, including employee hires can be developed.  Depending on what phase these 700 founders are, the statistics below may not be as alarming as we think.  Yet in still, they must be addressed.

According to Business Insider, “61% of companies are either all-male or mostly-male.”  In addition, “30% of startups say they haven’t even talked about diversity and inclusion inside their company” and only “14% of startups have a formal plan to promote diversity and inclusion in their companies.”  Again, I need to know more about the companies involved before overtly criticizing them, but 30% never having a conversation about diversity and inclusion is a bit rough.  It takes little effort to put on a meeting agenda “what about female inclusion?”.

The biggest issue that the Business Insider introduced was the differing opinion for the lack of diversity in tech overall.  We all know about the low diversity numbers in the tech industry so I won’t go in depth on it here, but for men, low diversity numbers can be attributed to the fact that not “as many women or members of certain minorities [are] qualified to do the jobs tech companies need done.”  Women, meanwhile, attribute the lack of diversity to unconscious bias in hiring and a lack of industry role models.

Both arguments have validity however, citing pipeline issues before attempting to recruit women and minorities is a bit disingenuous.  As the author notes, "men can’t continue just talking to men and hiring men and agreeing amongst men that the problem is the lack of qualified women.“  Obviously more can and should be done but ultimately it is up to the founders to create and promote their own company culture.  I urge for greater commitment, but in the end, I as a writer can only do so much.

Business Insider


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