DEI disconnect in the tech industry: Many companies failing to deliver on promises

by | Mar 28, 2022 | Public Relations

In spite of the promises many tech companies made in the past two years to take action on DEI, 35 percent of surveyed companies reported they are still in the beginning stages of building a DEI program, according to new research from tech software platform Built In. Additionally, 30 percent of tech professionals said their companies either don’t have any DEI programs in place or are making a very poor effort.

“To effect real change, the industry’s commitment to DEI must be a movement, not a moment,” said Sheridan Orr, Built In’s chief marketing officer, in a news release. “This study shows we’re at risk of the latter, a prospect with dire consequences. Only companies that make good on their DEI promises over the long term will attract and retain skilled professionals, who are choosing to work for companies that walk the walk. With this report, we aim to shine light on critical issues like this to ensure we come together as an industry to shape the movement humanity needs and talent demands.”

The year 2020 saw widespread protests and activism against systemic racism and violence against Black and African American people. While this spurred an industry-wide conversation about DEI in the workplace, the tech industry is still predominantly white.

Despite companies hiring 13 percent more Black or African American employees since 2020, the survey shows this is the most underrepresented group in tech

Sixty-two percent of employers reported that less than 10 percent of their employees identify as Black or African American. The situation is more extreme at the uppermost levels: A staggering 73 percent of companies reported having zero Black or African American executives.

Employees’ expectations for employers’ DEI efforts have intensified. More than two in three (67 percent) employees said they would be more inclined to stay in their current role if their employer improved its DEI efforts, a jump from the 51 percent who indicated this in 2020.

Job seekers indicated they value employers’ efforts to create diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces

Fully 58 percent said DEI initiatives are very important to them when considering a job opportunity. This serves as more evidence that DEI efforts are becoming a requisite for recruitment and retention.

“Built In’s mission is to empower humans to build the future,” said Maria Christopoulos Katris, Built In’s co-founder and CEO, in the release. “People in this industry will not be empowered until it is truly diverse, equitable and inclusive. We’re committed to conducting research and sharing our findings widely as one of our contributions to the solution. This survey provides a foundation on which the industry can build meaningful dialogue, take action and, in time, create the inclusive world so many are fighting for.”

Download the full report here.

Between December 2021 and January 2022, Built In surveyed technology professionals and employers about DEI in the workplace. The survey asked respondents about companies’ DEI efforts to date, diversity among employees, representation among leadership, discrimination in the workplace, employee sentiment regarding inclusion at work and other salient DEI matters.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter