Wage Gap Between Whites, Minorities Continues to Plague Tech Industry

Recent findings have revealed that the wage gap between minorities and whites in the tech industry is still a major problem, with many minorities earning thousands less than their white counterparts.

It has already been revealed that there is a shortage of minority employees in the high-tech industry, especially Blacks and Hispanics.

Now it turns out that the ones who have managed to break into the field are getting paid at substantially lower rates for the same job positions and same performance as white employees.

According to a study conducted by senior research analyst Nicole Kreisberg, Hispanics are suffering the most from the wage gap.

Hispanics are earning $16,353 a year less on average compared to non-Hispanic employees.

Blacks earn roughly $3,656 less than whites, and Asians make a surprising $8,146 less than whites.

The reason researchers found the wage gap for Asians to be rather surprising is the fact that Asians have not faced the same barriers to entry as African-Americans and Hispanics have when it comes to the tech industry.

Asians are generally represented very well in sheer quantity and often earn leadership positions.

According to Laura Weidman Powers, co-founder and CEO of Code2040, the wage gap that minorities are facing needs to be brought to the forefront of discussions about salaries in the workplace, along with discussions about the gender wage gap.

“There’s this big narrative in the women’s movement: 78 cents on the dollar,” she said, according to USA Today. “Everyone knows what that means. It’s less talked about when it comes to race.

Powers knows a lot about the disadvantages that minorities face in this field.

Code2040 is a nonprofit organization that aims to nurture Black and Hispanic talents in the tech field.

“It’s a question of value and seeing value in these populations,” she added. “And when it comes to hiring and paying people, value translates into dollars.”

Kreisberg shared the same sentiments.

While tackling the issue of hiring minorities is also a major issue, that’s not where the push for diversity and inclusivity stops. It has to carry on to ensure equal pay for equal work as well.

“What this tells us is that race and ethnicity matter, and they matter a lot,” Kreisberg told USA Today. “Simply increasing diversity is not enough. We also have to talk about money.”

Freada Kapor Klein, co-chair of the Kapor Center for Social Impact, believes the wage gap exists largely in part due to unconscious racial bias.

“At every point in the hiring process, hidden bias trickles in,” Klein said. “A drop at the stage of reviewing names on resumes, a few more drops at the stage of different gender and race styles of presentation during interviews and a steadier stream when it comes to who is expected to negotiate their salary and who isn’t.”

According to an associate professor of management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Emilio Castilla, implementing a solution may not be as difficult as one might assume.

Castilla’s recent research found that one company’s merit-based system seemed skewed, causing greater bias in favor of men over women.

“The lesson is not that companies shouldn’t adopt merit-based practices but that the pursuit of meritocracy is more difficult than it first appears,” he explained. “If not designed and implemented carefully, merit-based practices may trigger bias against women and ethnic minorities.”

Castilla was able to work with the company to put new practices in place, which will increase accountability and transparency in their merit-based system.

While the new practices have not completely closed the wage gap just yet, it certainly proved to be a step in the right direction.


Jesse Jackson Reveals Next Steps to Increase Diversity, Inclusion in Silicon Valley

Now that major tech companies like Facebook and Google have released their diversity statistics to the public, the Rev. Jesse Jackson is ready to launch the next phase of his plan to increase diversity in Silicon Valley.

Jackson announced the next phase of his plan on The Guardian over the weekend and bashed Silicon Valley for its “shameful” record on equality.

Through his social justice organization Rainbow Push, Jackson urged the hi-tech giants to release statistics about the demographics of their workforce.

With many tech giants having African-Americans making up less than 2 percent of their workforce and almost none in executive positions, Jackson stated that these companies “must put a real plan in place.”

“Treat inclusion and diversity just as you would any serious business line of a company and measure them,” Jackson wrote.

Representatives from the companies have already publicly criticized the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, but some believe that the companies have not followed up with an efficient response to the problem at hand.

Jackson stated that the “face of technology” needs to change, and he believes Rainbow Push has the plan to do it.

According to the civil rights activist, the organization will be working hard over the next few months to “review the performance and causes that have perpetuated the lack of diversity and inclusion in technology,” get corporate leaders involved in implementing the necessary changes, and “identify strategies and solutions” that could actually help “change the face of technology companies to mirror the consumer and demographic base of the community.”

According to Jackson, African-Americans “consume more technology” than the average American although they are vastly “underrepresented in the boardrooms.”

The blueprint for Rainbow Push’s next plan of action also lists several other objectives for the coming months.

The organization will aim to create an annual diversity report that will keep track of diversity and inclusion in Silicon Valley.

Other goals for the plan include launching a pledge commitment and 2020 digital inclusion and diversity vision and creating an advisory committee that will be dedicated solely to coming up with the best practices to help nurture diversity in the tech space.

Jackson went on to say that the next phase in Rainbow Push’s plan will continue the fight for equality for minorities.

“In our journey from freedom to equality, we’ve used all of the tools and resources: we vote; we legislate; we litigate; we advocate; we leverage,” he wrote. “And with a mission stepped in our faith to seek justice, fairness and equality, we will fight and win.”


Black Entrepreneurs Ready to Change the Face of the Tech Industry

An overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs in the tech industry are white and male. But through better education, assistance from venture capitalists and support from major companies, the industry could be on the brink of a major shakeup.

Companies like Facebook and Google recently disclosed statistics about the demographics of their workforces, which confirmed what many had already believed – the faces behind these companies are mostly white males.

Out of Facebook’s nearly 7,000 employees, 69 percent are males. Out of all of its employees in the U.S., nearly 60 percent are white.

Google’s report, which was released in January, revealed similar numbers.

Roughly 70 percent of Google’s employees are men, and more than 60 percent are white. About 2 percent are Black.

So what is causing such a drastic race and gender gap in employees at major tech companies?

According to the panelists at Technoir, it has a lot to do with education and support.

Technoir, which was held in August, is the first in a series of discussions and networking events created to examine the challenges and opportunities that Black entrepreneurs often face.

One of the main challenges the event’s panelists discussed was the importance of quality education.

Aaron Saunders, chief executive of Clearly Innovative, pointed out that youths need to be skilled in mathematics and science in order to succeed in the tech industry.

Not only that, but they need to be in an environment where they can learn about all the different careers that the tech industry has to offer.

Saunders has already co-founded a summer camp and academic program at Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science in Washington, D.C., called Startup Middle School.

The program gives its young members more experience using science, math and technology to solve a variety of different problems.

According to Saunders, it was not only troubling that the students were not given many opportunities to build their math and science skills outside of his camp, but also that they had never even met anyone who worked in the technology industry.

“These are the things that make a difference,” he said. “These are the things that move the needle.”

Meanwhile, other panelists stressed that the right education will not be enough to create a more diverse space in the tech industry.

Minority tech entrepreneurs need the same support and financial backing that white males are often awarded.

“A lot of these firms, their diversity is in my opinion shameful,” said Justin Maddox, the chief executive of CrowdTrust. “It’s extremely lame in 2014 for you not to be able to reach outside your demographic and grab somebody of another gender or another race.”

Talib I. Karim, executive director of the nonprofit STEM4US!, agreed with Maddox.

“If you have a great idea and somebody believes the only people who have great ideas are white males, then how are we ever going to create an economy that outperforms those economies like China,” Karim questioned. “We have an advantage in our diversity.”

The good news for many minority entrepreneurs is that the growth of crowd funding provides some sort of financial backing when venture capitalists and other potential investors turn the other cheek.

Sites like KickStarter and Indiegogo have made it easy for emerging entrepreneurs to get the financial aid they need to launch a startup or continue the growth of their business.

With those tools in mind, Toya Powell believes it is vital that minority entrepreneurs support each other.

“Everyone in this room has the capacity to be an angel,” said Powell, the vice president of operations at the National Black Chamber of Commerce. “You could, in your own sphere of influence, invest in each other.”



5 Career Mistakes Black Millennials Make in STEM Fields

When starting your career, you will make mistakes along the way. Everybody has. To help you navigate the early stages of your science, technology, engineering and math careers, we’ve compiled five mistakes Black millennials make in STEM fields, in hopes that you’ll either avoid them or know how to correct any you may have already made.

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Not Having a Mentor

Like all industries, having a mentor is imperative, but it’s especially important for Black millennials in STEM fields to feel connected to others in order to move up. “Due to underrepresentation and limited access, several minority and female colleagues told me that feeling isolated at work was a big hindrance to their advancement and development early in their careers,” said Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, a professor at the University of Georgia and director of its Atmospheric Sciences Program, in an interview with ebony.com.