CXO

Report: More than 1/3 of tech workers fear Trump's election will hurt industry diversity efforts

Since the US presidential election, 50% of tech workers have actively engaged with their company leaders about how to create a more inclusive workplace, according to a new report.

The 2016 presidential election may hinder tech diversity efforts, workers in the industry say, according to a new report from Atlassian.

The report surveyed more than 1,400 tech workers across the US, and provides the first look at how tech employees perceive diversity progress in their industry after the 2016 presidential election, Atlassian claims.

Some 48% of tech workers said the recent presidential election made them care more about diversity. But 35% said they predict the election will hurt their company's existing diversity efforts. Just 12% said they think it will help these efforts.

The election did spur positive changes in terms of diversity and inclusion (D&I) among colleagues: 57% of respondents said they learned more about the experiences of a colleague who was different from them, and 50% said they engaged leaders on how to create a more inclusive environment.

SEE: How CXOs can develop a diverse workforce (Tech Pro Research)

However, there also seems to be a discrepancy between tech worker perceptions of diversity and reality: While 83% of professionals surveyed said their company is already diverse, the fact remains that only about 2% of the tech workforce is black, 3% is Latino, and 24% is female, the report stated.

"In a nutshell, the data shows we've been effective at raising awareness, but not of deepening understanding of the fundamental problem and the ways to resolve it," Aubrey Blanche, Atlassian's global head of diversity and inclusion, wrote in a blog post accompanying the report. "But [it] also shows there is huge opportunity: Since the election, people are both more concerned about D&I and willing to take action to promote inclusion."

Some 75% of tech workers said their company has a diversity program of some kind in place, while 17% said their company has no diversity program whatsoever.

The majority of tech workers said they believe a "bottoms up" approach to diversity and inclusion will be the most effective. When asked who are the biggest drivers of impact for diversity and inclusion, 57% said individuals, 54% said companies, and 36% said grassroots movements. Meanwhile, 22% said national government, 17% said local government, and 15% said the judicial system.

This is positive, because true diversity efforts require the help of frontline tech workers and middle managers, Blanche wrote in the post. "While it's true we need support from senior leadership to make key investments in D&I programs, we're never going to build truly inclusive cultures if we don't have support and engagement from the people who actually make up those cultures," Blanche wrote.

Atlassian offers the following tips for achieving more diversity in tech companies:

1. Companies must accurately analyze the diversity of their organizations, functions, and teams.

2. Companies must equip their employees with actionable strategies, to help them create inclusive environments that attract and sustain a diverse workforce.

3. Individuals must understand the state of diversity in tech, and contribute to practices that change their teams, companies, and industry culture for the better.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. In a new diversity report from Atlassian, 35% of tech workers said they believe the recent US presidential election will hinder their company's diversity efforts.

2. Three-quarters of tech workers said their company had a diversity program of some kind in place.

3. The majority of tech workers said they believe a "bottom up" approach to increasing diversity and inclusion, starting with individuals and companies, will be most effective.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/Rawpixel

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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