Improving ethnic and gender diversity in the U.S. technology workforce represents a massive economic opportunity, one that could create $470 – $570 billion in new value for the tech industry, and could add 1.2–1.6% to national GDP.
Growth on this scale would have major implications for both the labor and consumer markets, supporting job creation and better products. And... yet, the tech industry is not drawing upon the full pool of available talent.
While it is no secret that women and racial/ethnic minorities are underrepresented at tech companies—by 19 percentage points for women compared to their presence in the US labor force; by 16–18 percentage points for Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans—it may come as a surprise to learn how little these figures have changed in the last 15 years.
For technical roles, female representation falls to 12 percent—far short of the proportion of women working in many other occupations traditionally viewed as male-dominated (to name a handful: oil drilling, metal forging, and investment management). Tech leaders recognize this gap and are investing to shrink it, yet racial or ethnic minority representation has only improved by 1–2 percentage points over fifteen years, and female representation has fallen by one percentage point.