Nick Heer, whose Pixel Envy is one of the best sites in my feed reader these days, has completely dismantled any notion you might have that diversity is an issue that big tech companies are working on resolving. Heer has been looking at the stats for years and his annual report for 2016 is now available. It shows minimal improvements from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft, and how the numbers don’t match those of the overall workforce in the United States.
Particularly interesting is the Gender Diversity in Leadership/Executive Positions section, which clearly shows how in tech women might be hired, but they are never promoted into leadership roles.
Getting back to ethnic diversity, one of the biggest lies I’ve heard repeated is that the issue preventing minorities from being hired is that they don’t study computer science in school. This is complete bullshit for minorities as Heer points out in his footnotes:
I will reiterate that one of the excuses most frequently cited by tech companies for their lack of diversity is a small selection of underrepresented prospective employees coming out of colleges and universities in the United States. This is false.
However, the pipeline argument has been true for women in computer science, as an episode of Planet Money from 2014 points out, in 1984 women started being shoved out of the computer science door at every point in the process. Ads for computers were targeted towards males and the culture at schools became male-dominated and exclusionary, which then moved into the workplace.