Spotted Arrow

2017-11-19

Diversity in Tech Part 2

A while back, about 2 years ago, I wrote an article on LinkedIn about Diversity in Tech. My take was that if you wanted to be part of a diverse company you could achieve this in two ways. One, you build the company yourself. Or two, you join a company where diversity is an important part of their organizational model. Now after having a bit more experience in the tech field I have more tidbits to offer.

  • It takes maturity for any company to reflect on its culture and come to realize diversity offers value.
  • It takes even more maturity for those in a position to hire to see their ineptitude at connecting with diverse applicants.
  • It take an even greater maturity for the company and the hiring managers to proactively change this behavior.

All these realizations have to come about for diversity to occur within a company. As I said before, I won’t hold my breath and wait for this to happen. At one company I worked for, it was entirely white males from the engineering team to the CEO, with few exceptions. I never got the impression that diversity was important. Although they proclaimed to want to hire the best, the only hires I saw were white males. And as someone who has a diverse background it was uninteresting. But they are who they are and they have the right to hire who they want.

For fun though, let’s say they did hire someone that was a non-white male. It doesn’t end when it’s the diverse persons first day. The hiring manager has to continue to grow in this new role. They have to understand their ineptitude at connecting with diverse people. They have to figure out ways to improve the environment for diverse persons. This is a lot of work. That is why I say it takes great maturity for any company to attempt this. Do I hold it against a company that doesn’t do this? No. I instead think to myself, “they don’t even know what they are missing,” and I go about my day.

What is it going to take for the diversity in tech to take off? Well, at least for me, I already see it taking off. I see it at my current company and at a conferences I’ve attended. There are many diverse and smart tech candidates out there in the world. There is not a shortage. You have to be willing to look. And you have to be mature enough to see yourself for who you truly are. The good and the bad.

To be clear here, I am not saying companies NEED to hire diverse candidates. I am saying we are asking a lot of companies even though they don’t have the wherewithal or maturity to reflect on their culture and hiring practices.