According to a recent story in USA Today, one common excuses for the lack of African-Americans and Latinos in the tech industry has some pretty major holes in it.
The media outlet built the story around on the yearly Taulbee Survey “which includes 179 U.S. and Canadian universities that offer doctorates in computer science and computer engineering” as well as another survey by the National Center for Education Statistics and other related sources and studies.
As technology becomes a major engine of economic growth in the U.S. economy, tech companies are under growing pressure to diversify their workforces, which are predominantly white, Asian and male. Leaving African Americans and Hispanics out of that growth increases the divide between haves and have-nots. And the technology industry risks losing touch with the diverse nation — and world — that forms its customer base.
So what are the actual numbers? They are certainly disappointing. According to the story:
On average, just 2% of technology workers at seven Silicon Valley companies that have released staffing numbers are black; 3% are Hispanic.
But last year, 4.5% of all new recipients of bachelor’s degrees in computer science or computer engineering from prestigious research universities were African American, and 6.5% were Hispanic, according to data from the Computing Research Association.
The piece mentions many reasons that may be behind these discrepancies including the built in racial bias and the oftentimes the tech industry recruits from schools that are nearby:
Stanford, UC-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, UCLA and MIT are among the most popular for recruiting by tech companies, according to research by Wired magazine.