Diverse racial and gender representation in STEM fields—specifically in the technology sector—is noticeably lacking and has been for some time. Due to a number of reasons, diversity and inclusion policies and strategies in the technology landscape are being explored on multiple levels. The bottom line for a more diverse playing field in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics industries is that inclusion begins with strategic recruitment and hiring. This article will discuss diversity and inclusion strategic recruitment efforts post-COVID-19, challenges to strategic diverse staffing, and how to ensure diversity and inclusion remain a priority in strategic recruitment long-term.
Where we are now
This year, the world was turned upside down by the novel coronavirus outbreak. Across the globe, COVID-19 has impacted small and large corporations, private businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
In the midst of it all, the largest civil rights movement since the 1960s commenced in the U.S., and gradually broadened to other parts of the world. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others, combined with the startling disproportionate rate at which People of Color have been affected by coronavirus, has exposed pre-existing disparities in health and health care. At the crossroads of the global pandemic and social injustice, communities and organizations have arrived at a juncture to consider where else disparities exist—from education and broadband access to housing and employment.
Moreover, as a result of these complex crises, multiple industries across the globe are investigating diverse representation—or lack thereof—in their enterprise, and are seeking where gaps of inclusion exist throughout their business. Now, employers across the world are asking how they can build a more diverse and inclusive organization.
In STEM, there are multiple barriers that block a fair and just playing field. In the technology sector specifically, diverse and inclusive organizations are sparse. In a study by the National Center for Women in Technology in 2015, research found that 25% of professional computing occupations in the U.S. were held by women, 3% were held by Black women, and only 1% were held by Hispanic women—despite women holding 57% of professional occupations in the U.S. workforce (NCWIT).
Why diversity and inclusion in technology failed in the past
Diverse racial and gender representation in the computer science, software, and technology industry has always been absent. The foundation of a robust and successful staff, no matter how large or small the business may be, begins with recruitment. Diverse hiring and role fulfillment at tech corporations intersects with misplaced diversity in multiple ways—all of which are complex and evolving. Here are four: