When it comes to diversity in Silicon Valley, many issues arise when recruiting and maintaining black and Hispanic employees. But despite its problems, when it comes to Asian employees, the numbers tell a different story. At Google, Asians make up 39% of the tech workforce. At Apple, Asians make up 31% of tech employees, and at Facebook, 49% of tech workers are Asians. Yet despite these high numbers, Asians are not promoted as much as you’d think. At Facebook, for example, despite being almost half of the tech workforce, only 21% of senior leadership is Asian.
Because of the lack of promotion, the term “bamboo ceiling” has been created, describing the lack of promotion for a large Asian workforce. This in turn has led to a brain drain from Silicon Valley to China. According to Silicon Beat, the “tech industry has surpassed the financial sector as the No. 1 attraction for Chinese returning home from overseas, making up some 16 percent of returnees, a 10 percent jump from a 2015 poll, according to a survey by the Center for China & Globalization and employment website Zhaopin.com, Bloomberg reported.”
The rise of China has created a second option for Chinese tech employees who are looking for greater roles in their company. Government incentives and venture capital have become a calling card in China now and as a result many China born immigrants are moving back home. “The number of graduates returning from overseas – mainly from the U.S. – skyrocketed to 432,500 in 2016, up 22 percent from 2013, the survey shows,” Bloomberg recently reported.
And these numbers do not look as if they will drop any time soon. Unless tech companies are able to provide opportunities to talented individuals across the ethnic spectrum, this trend will increase.