Survey: Nearly 70% of US Businesses Report Lack of Diversity in Tech Workforce
On Aug 10, 2021
Wiley, the Hoboken-based global leader in research and education, announced its Diversity in Tech: 2021 U.S. Report following a survey of more than 2,000 early career tech workers and 270 business leaders.
The report verifies the pace of progress is too slow in addressing the lack of diversity in U.S. technology-focused jobs and reveals insights that underscore the challenges companies must address to build more diverse workforces. Key findings include that nearly 70% of U.S. businesses identify a lack of diversity in their workforces, while the same percentage of young tech workers feel a lack of inclusion and belonging in company culture
“It’s estimated that U.S. companies collectively are spending more than ever before – about eight billion dollars a year – on diversity and inclusion training,” said Todd Zipper, president of Wiley Education Services. “This report proves that investment alone isn’t enough to achieve equity in the workplace. We need to take an ecosystem approach to workforce diversity: making science and math education more accessible for all learners from an early age through college, and creating more equitable on-ramps to employment through short-form skilling and ‘last-mile’ training solutions.”
The report provides some key insights and findings about the lack of diversity in workforces including:
There is immense power in educating and encouraging secondary-school students to pursue technology-focused roles.
According to 18–28-year-old workers currently in the technology field, the most common reason for pursuing a career in technology is encouragement to do so by their high school. Nearly five out of 10 young tech workers (47%) cited this as one of their main motivations, highlighting the necessity for schools to do more to promote tech roles to a wider range of students.
To land a tech job or advance in the tech sector, nearly half of women surveyed were concerned about their qualifications; 31% were concerned they are not good enough at math and science; and one-in-three women were worried that they do not have the right educational background. When comparing men and women, women are more concerned about their skillset with 48% worried about their qualifications compared with 43% of males.
Nearly nine out of 10 (89%) business leaders surveyed plan to recruit junior tech talent in 2021; of those, more than half (51%) struggle to recruit diverse entry-level technology talent.
Sixty-eight percent of businesses surveyed feel there is a lack of diversity in their tech workforce, but only half (46%) are actively trying to address the issue within technology teams. Nearly a quarter (22%) said they do not know how to address the issue. Surprisingly, nearly half (45%) of businesses have yet to invest in anti-bias training for hiring managers.
Seven out of 10 (68%) young technology workers have felt uncomfortable in a job because of their gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, or neurodevelopmental condition. When looking at women of color (female respondents who identify as non-white) this number increases to nearly eight out of 10 (77%).
Half (50%) of young tech workers said they had left, or wanted to leave, a tech or IT job because the company culture made them feel unwelcome or uncomfortable, highlighting the importance of building inclusive cultures. This number increases to nearly six out of 10 (57%) when looking at women of color.
A significant proportion of all surveyed (64%) said they believe people from minority backgrounds are discriminated against in the recruitment process for technology jobs. This number was relatively consistent across the different demographics.
Wiley supports thousands of higher ed institutions and employers worldwide to deliver education directly connected to career success and build a diverse and digitally savvy workforce at scale. One way Wiley does this is through innovative, last-mile training solutions like mthree that hire, train and deploy job-ready technology talent in roles with leading corporations worldwide, including more than 30 Fortune 500 companies.
“With nine million unfilled jobs currently in the U.S., the economy will continue to struggle as it experiences a labor shortage, especially if companies are ill-equipped to recruit and retain a diverse tech workforce,” said Daniele Grassi, chief operating officer for mthree, a Wiley brand. “Expanding and diversifying talent pipelines will get great workers in high-demand tech jobs faster, benefitting both companies and workers.