Race and gender discrimination in technology remain an issue, according to Dice’s newly released Equality in Tech Report. Between 2020 and 2021 there was little change in sentiment around gender and racial discrimination, the report said.
Conversely, perception of racial discrimination actually increased for both Black technologist respondents (57%, up from 55% in 2020) and technologists who identify as women (at double the rate of technologists who identify as men.) Perception of a lack of leadership opportunities and salary and benefit inequities were cited as a common cause of discrimination, the report said.
The number of Black technologists who reported experiencing racial discrimination also rose year-over-year, from 48% in 2020 to 50% in 2021, according to the report. “That’s significantly ahead of the racial discrimination experienced by other groups, including Asian/Pacific Islander respondents (28%), Hispanic/Latino(a) respondents (25%), Asian Indian respondents (21%) and White respondents (10%),” the report noted.
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Career satisfaction ranks higher than job satisfaction
While satisfaction with overall careers improved slightly year-over-year, tightening the disparity between racial groups, the survey found that there is still slightly higher dissatisfaction among Black and Hispanic/Latino(a) technologists with their current job.
Further, technologists who identify as women still lag behind technologists who identify as men in satisfaction with both their career and current job, according to the Dice report. On a more positive note, respondents’ satisfaction with their managers remains high among racial and gender groups. The Dice report said this implies trust and respect and primes the industry for DEI policies and change to take hold.
Underrepresented groups may consider changing jobs
One finding that wasn’t surprising, given the current demand for IT talent, is that three in 10 technologists said they are still considering changing employers in the next year. The most notable finding from this data was that 70% of technologists who identify as women indicated they are considering changing employers in the next year for better compensation (in line with the reasons for changing employers indicated by men and all racial groups surveyed) and remote work at a higher rate (34%) than any other group except Hispanic/Latino(a) (38%).
Dice said this year’s data underscores the importance of offering remote and flexible work schedules to women and Hispanic/Latino(a) technologists that could help improve career/job satisfaction as well as ease burnout. Organizations, recruiters and managers who understand these needs and can adjust accordingly stand a better chance of attracting and retaining technologists in both groups, according to the report.
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Perception of compensation equity
Most technologist respondents perceive that they are underpaid despite promises by organizations to close the racial wage gap, the report said. Black, Asian Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino(a) technologists are more likely than White technologists to feel they are underpaid compared to others with the same occupation and skill level.
Asian Indian technologists had the highest levels of perceived income inequality (56%), followed by Hispanic/Latino(a) technologists at 54% and Black and Asian/Pacific Islander technologists at 52%, while 45% of White technologists felt underpaid, the report said.
“While the disparity between ethnicities is notable, the fact that the lowest number still represents nearly half speaks to compensation continuing to be a major issue in tech,’’ the report noted. “The perception of being underpaid, paired with the extraordinarily high demand for tech talent across industries and verticals, is only fueling technologists’ openness to new opportunities.”
DEI commitments are a higher priority now
The importance of an organization’s reputation regarding DEI went up year-over-year for all groups, as did the importance of their company’s commitment to DEI and resulting programs and progress, according to the report.
However, less than half of technologists surveyed have been impressed with action to date in their current companies. This gap signals how much work is left to be done. Though companies are trying, and there have been small changes in DEI-related statistics year-over-year, “we must persevere and commit to a more equitable and inclusive future,’’ the report said.
Dice CEO Art Zeile said that while they didn’t expect to see major forward movement in the findings between 2020 and 2021, since tangible progress in these areas will take time to materialize, “it was disheartening to see some of the backward steps.”
Specifically, he referenced Black technologists’ perception of racial discrimination increasing year-over-year, and as well as the increases in gender discrimination as perceived by technologists identifying as women.
“There are certainly areas where the data shows some level of progress, but the backsliding on perceived discrimination for those [who] tend to experience it more heavily is cause for concern,’’ Zeile said. “These data points, as well as other areas like the higher perception of wage inequality for individuals in underrepresented groups, are an important reminder of the areas every employer of technologists needs to focus on to create environments where all people can thrive.”