Tech Diversity Report by GAO Delivers Sobering Data on African Americans

Tech Diversity Report by GAO Delivers Sobering Data on African Americans

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The overwhelmingly white men tech sector remains the same with not much indication of changing according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

THE REPORT: DIVERSITY IN THE TECH SECTOR

Using employment stats from the years 2007, 2011 and 2015, the GAO study found that the percentage of black workers in the tech center declined by about 2 percent and the percentage if women in the tech industry remained the same. 

The 76 page report also pointed out a need to collect data on teh diversity of the tech workforce.

“The GAO’s takeaway is that federal agencies need to improve their oversight of tech companies and diversity data collection methods,” reported TechCrunch on November 30, the day the tech study was released to the public.

GAO relayed several recommendations as a result of what was found in their diversity study.

One recommendation was that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs take steps to require tech companies with government contracts have very specific hiring goals as related to having a diverse workforce.

“Regulations do not require federal contractors to disaggregate data for the purpose of determining placement goals for hiring,” stated the GAO in its report.

Collecting data in an aggressive consistent way is a primary goal of those who are fighting to improve diversity in the tech sector.  African Americans are over-indexed on many popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are focused on the issue.

“This report confirms what we already knew,” said CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) . “Too many technology companies are doing a poor job of practicing what they preach when it comes to diversity. The CBC will continue to push technology companies to make much more progress in this area through our CBC TECH 2020 initiative.”

“This GAO report is disappointing but not surprising,” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Co-Chair of the Congressional Black CaucusDiversity Task Force.

“The findings reinforce what we have known for some time- that when it comes to diversity and inclusion of African Americans, the tech industry has gone from making some progress toward losing ground.  The Congressional Black Caucus is determined to move the needle toward full parity in the tech sector, and expect less talk from the industry and better results,” Butterfield added.

“Last month I visited the nation’s foremost tech companies in Silicon Valley and witnessed the stunning reversal they have made concerning diversity and inclusion, said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) who is Co-Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Diversity Task Force.  

“As we continue to press for racial parity within the tech industry, this new report will be an important tool to drive tech companies to be more transparent with their employee data, fully disaggregate their diversity data and establish robust goals to advance equity in tech,” Rep. Lee said.

“The fact is there is bias in the recruitment, hiring and retention of Black, Hispanic and women workers in the tech sector.  Decades of research show diversity is good for innovation and for the economic bottom line. Diversity and inclusion must not be treated as an aspiration; it is the law,” said Education & Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA).

The CBC founded CBC TECH 2020 in 2015 to bring together the best minds in tech, non-profit, education, and public sectors to chart a path forward to increase African American diversity and inclusion at all levels of the technology industry.

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Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer, comms strategist and political analyst. She created Crewof42 in 2009. The blog focuses on African American members of Congress and Black political power regardless of party. Ms. Burke also writes for NBC BLK, The Root, NNPA and is the Managing Editor of Politic365. As part of a diverse career in politics and media, she has also served as a congressional staffer for the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Director of Communications for Justin Fairfax of Lt. Governor of Virginia. She appears each Monday on weekly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin on TVOne. Ms. Burke holds a B.A. in History from The American University. Email: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @LVBurke.

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