A couple of recent press stories about diversity caught my eye this week. First the good news. Google and Howard University are doing something about getting more African Americans into the tech world. Howard University and Google announced a plan to launch Howard West, a three-month, summer Computer Science residency for rising juniors and seniors in the University’s Computer Science program. According to a Howard press statement, “The residency includes a dedicated workspace on Google’s Mountain View campus and a generous stipend to cover housing and other expenses in Silicon Valley.”
The other thing that I saw was a CNET story that indicated that “An overwhelming majority of tech employees — 94 percent — say their teams, companies and the industry overall get passing grades for trying to create diverse workforces, a result that flies in the face of corporate transparency reports that find Silicon Valley overwhelming white and male.”
How bad is the problem?
There have been numerous reports over the past few years about the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley. If you need proof, check out the most recent diversity reports of major companies like Facebook, Google, Apple and Intel and scroll down for just a couple of examples. Silicon Valley has a lot of work to do when it comes to diversity in the workforce, especially among tech workers. While progress is being made with new hires, Silicon Valley tech is till mostly a White and Asian boys club.
Despite progress with new hires, Google’s tech workers remain overwhelmingly (81%) male and 94% White and Asian. Facebook is in pretty much the same place with 94% White and Asian and 83% male. Intel is doing a little better at 74.1% male and 86% White and Asian, but still not great overall. The numbers are better for new hires in all categories and non-tech workers but, even there, there is a long way to go as the reports indicate.