Bias in Hiring
The hiring process--from recruiting to resume screening—contains conscious and unconscious biases which affect opportunities for underrepresented candidates.
  • Recruitment: Top tech companies most often hire alumni from top-ranking universities, including Stanford and Berkeley, limiting geographic, racial, and economic diversity in the recruitment pool.
  • Resume Review: Bias in resume reviews result in candidates with ethnic-sounding names and female candidates being rated less positively, receiving fewer call-backs, and being less likely to advance to the interview round.
  • Interviewing: Candidates with accents, women, and working mothers are all rated less favorably than their peers in competence and hiring recommendations.
  • Subjective assessments of “cultural fit,” including similar leisure activities and experiences between interviewees and candidates, often outweigh assessments of skill.
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Resumes with African-American sounding names receive 50% fewer call-backs than resumes with White sounding names.
Social Capital and Social Networks
Social networks contain valuable resources of knowledge and influence, yet networks are highly segregated by race and gender.
  • Peer networks are highly segregated by race, which limits informal knowledge-sharing about job opportunities, referrals, and recommendations across racial groups.
  • In workplaces where men are the majority, their personal and professional networks are even more segregated, affecting recruitment, hiring, and promotion.
  • Family networks also have social capital, and students are more likely to pursue STEM careers if their parents are STEM professionals, with both formal and informal knowledge passed between family members.
  • Professionals within the tech sector have access to social capital and networks that those outside do not have, and since the tech sector lacks racial and gender diversity, it replicates a cycle and pattern of disparity.
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Source: Public Religion Research Institute (2016), graphic courtesy of the Washington Post. 75% of whites don’t have any non-white friends in their social network.
Bias in Advancement Opportunities
Biases can affect the assessment of performance and promotion opportunities for professionals from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Performance Evaluations: Performance ratings are higher when there is a match between the race and gender of managers and employees, disadvantaging women and people of color in tech. Despite equal performance, women and people of color receive less compensation
  • Promotion: Women and underrepresented people of color are rated lower on promotion potential than White males. Women receive less challenging assignments and have less access to senior leaders. Women of color face the most substantial barriers and are more likely to experience being passed over for promotion than any other group.
  • Leadership: Majority-group members (White, male professionals) are rated as having higher leadership skills than underrepresented professionals, and companies with male-dominated leadership are less likely to promote women to leadership positions.
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In corporate America, for every 100 women who are promoted, 130 men are promoted.
Workplace Culture and Turnover
Underrepresented tech professionals experience negative workplace culture at rates much higher than their peers, which then leads to increased rates of turnover.
  • Women and people of color in tech report more stereotyping, harassment, bullying, and other experiences with unfairness in tech than their peers.
  • 53% of women in tech experience harassment at work, compared to 16% of men.
  • Negative experiences and unfair treatment are significantly related to turnover in tech and contribute to the lack of diversity by creating a revolving door for underrepresented groups.
  • The lack of satisfaction with company diversity efforts and the lack of staff diversity also contributes to turnover.
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men of color were most likely to leave due to unfair treatment Source: Kapor Center for Social Impact (2017)
Pay Inequality
Despite identical education, experience, and job titles, women and people of color receive substantially lower salaries.
  • Female software engineers receive 83% of the salary that male software engineers receive (83 cents to every $1).
  • Men of all races earn more than their female counterparts of the same race in nearly every occupational category.
  • Women of color face the starkest pay disparities, with professional women of color earning nearly half of the salary of White and Asian males.
  • Women and underrepresented employees of color receive less compensation than White men when they both receive equal scores on performance evaluations.
  • Factors including reluctance to negotiate salary, lack of transparency, gender bias, and lack of preventative laws and policies contribute to the persistent pay gap.
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Source: Hegewisch & Williams-Baron (2017)
Asian male professionals earn nearly 2x as much as Black female professionals.
Stereotype Threat
The negative stereotypes associated with underrepresented groups in tech can impact both the engagement and performance of employees.
  • Being a numerical minority at work can activate gender stereotypes and produce stereotype threat.
  • When stereotype threat is experienced, women and people of color demonstrate lower performance on standardized tests and exams than their actual level of ability.
  • Stereotype threat can negatively affect workplace performance and engagement of underrepresented groups.
  • Employees who experience stereotype threat are more likely to have negative attitudes towards work and higher turnover intentions.
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Stereotype threat: The risk and fear of confirming a negative stereotype about one’s group.
External stressors and work-life balance
Women and people of color are more likely to face significant economic, family, and environmental stressors outside of the workplace, which can impact engagement and retention in the workplace.
  • Women are more likely to be single parents and caregivers for elderly parents than men, creating unique constraints by gender.
  • Compared to equally-qualified men with children and women without children, working mothers are less likely to be rated as competent and less likely to be perceived as committed to work. They are also less likely to be interviewed, hired, promoted, and paid equally.
  • People of color are more likely to graduate college with higher amounts of debt, have less savings, and much lower generational and family wealth to rely upon, increasing economic stress and affecting professional retention and turnover decisions.
  • Environmental stressors, including racial discrimination, victimization, poverty, health disparities, and police violence, also disproportionately affect communities of color outside of the workplace.
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Photo Credit: Ehimetalor Unuabona on Unsplash