One of the defining characteristics of America has always been its diverse people. This melting pot of cultures, genders and ideals, with equal rights, has helped to create the global competitive edge that we have today.
As we have developed as a country, certain obstacles have presented themselves to various groups and certain exclusions have been made, whether intentionally or unintentionally. The biases can be coming from the institutional level or even the individual/societal level, where it is simply seem as uncommon for a particular group to participate in a certain industry.
The technology industry of today is a perfect modern example of a workplace that has faced diversity issues. Part of the issue comes from the educational system and availability of education and training to certain people groups. The Department of Labor has started to launch more programs and initiatives aimed at helping to train a more diverse tech workforce from the bottom up, such as the Strengthening Working Families Initiative. The Department’s hope is that these gaps will be filled in by the next generation that has been equally prepared for a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
The trends are starting to change, with more minorities and women entering the tech industry than ever before. In the past 5 years, the number of college graduates with degrees in STEM have increased by 32 percent for women, 38 percent for Latinos and 32 percent for African-Americans. Compared to the national average of graduates with degrees in technology and science, which is about 29 percent, it is surmisable that the industry will begin to diversify in the next few years.
We have seen this trend towards diversifying tech from some of the big business moguls like Google in recent years. For example, Google reports growing their number of women working for the company from 1 to 19 percent over 3 years. Other tech based companies are still pointing fingers at the lack of diverse talent in the hiring pool, a risky point, but one that should not be a valid excuse for much longer.
Employers should consider the diversity of their workplace, whether it is in technology or any other industry and take account of any discrepancies within their equal opportunity employment standards, as governed by the Department of Labor. Diversity in the workplace isn’t just a standard to be upheld for law’s sake; it is a thoroughly American principle that made us the country we are today.
To learn more about the issues concerning employment diversity, visit the DOL website. If you have questions about equal opportunity employment or other employment-related matters, please contact Danz & Kronengold, P.L. at www.danzlaw.net.