by Ray Hayes

Blacks, Hispanics and women are leaving tech!? When first learning about this, I was a bit surprised.  With so much money being put behind diversity in tech, why would minorities and women want to leave?  Well, Kapor Center for Social Impact and Harris Poll provided the reasons why minorities and women are exiting at a high rate. The very people companies are trying to attract and retain at tech companies are providing first-hand accounts of sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and more.  Take a look below at some examples per the Kapor Center for Social Impact and Harris Poll:

  • Nearly eight in ten employees who left tech jobs reported they experienced unfair behavior or treatment and a staggering 85% have observed such behavior toward a coworker.
  • Nearly one-third of underrepresented women of color were passed over for promotions, more than any other group.
  • In the past 12 years more than half of women in the field of STEM, particularly computing and engineering, have left their jobs
  • “Former Uber software engineer Susan Fowler, who made explosive allegations of sexism and harassment at the ride-hailing company in a post on her personal blog that led to an internal investigation, said her request to transfer to another team to avoid her harasser was rejected because of retention concerns.”
  • Blacks and Latinos represent 3% to 5% of employees at top tech companies like Google, Apple and Facebook and those numbers have not changed within the past three years

Intel is one of the only tech companies to release its retention data. Retention became a key focus after the tech giant realized underrepresented groups were leaving at high rates. According to USA Today, “In February, Intel said it had reduced those rates, achieving a 15% exit rate for women and people of color compared to a 15.5% exit rate for white and Asian men and women.”

If you want to fix the problem, you must first admit that this is a problem and willing to accept that you need help.

One of the most interesting stats from the Kapor Center for Social Impact and Harris Poll revealed that nearly two-thirds of employees who left said that they would have stayed if their employer fixed their culture. That alone speaks volumes to me.  Change usually starts with one person and if people see the effort, they will inform others.

Due to the lack of day to day effort, I believe retention rates will slowly change and, in all honesty, if this is the case, the $16 billion used to improve diversity efforts in tech could be used else were.