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CompTIA Sees Hope, But Long Way to Go for Tech Workplace Diversity

Business Diversity
Channel Partners' Lynn Haber

Lynn Haber

Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic — one that brings to the forefront a lot of contradictory viewpoints, as highlighted in the first “Diversity in the High-Tech Industry” report, published Tuesday by CompTIA.

In fact, the level of contradiction in the diversity discussion was top of mind for report author Carolyn April. senior director, industry analysis, who describes the report responses as, “all over the map.”

CompTIA's Carolyn April

CompTIA’s Carolyn April

“One of the things we tried to do [in the survey] is put in front of our sample a number of either what could be conceived of as stereotypes or just facts, and ask whether they agreed or disagreed and to what degree. Those [results] are interesting because some of the responses just contradicted one another,” she told us.

April highlights the following data points: Nearly eight in 10 high-tech industry workers say they are satisfied with their organization’s diversity efforts. Forty-four percent say diversity is a high priority for their employers, and 87 percent say they’ve worked in a department comprised of a diverse group of employees in the last year. At the same time, nearly half (45 percent) of workers say that the industry has lagged in promoting diversity, while another third at least partially agree.

There’s been no shortage of headlines that peg the high-tech industry as being largely white and male. Statistics from the U.S. Equal Employment Commission and other sources point out that the technology has fewer African Americans, Hispanics and women than other industries.

“I think it’s human nature that you want to believe that you work in a progressive environment that’s inclusive of people of all types, backgrounds and experiences, but there’s a disconnect between the psychological mind of the human and the reality … if you look at the statistics,” said April, describing the contradictory nature of the survey’s findings.

Less than a year ago, CompTIA announced the formation of the “Advanced Diversity in Technology Community,” a member group tasked with supporting and promoting workforce diversity throughout the technology industry.

In January 2017, CompTIA acquired the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP). Eight months later, the association officially launched a new organization, the CompTIA AITP. Both moves put into focus the kickoff of the organization’s first diversity report.

“We are very cognizant of trying to diversify the types of people that get into technology careers. We’re very workforce-focused,” said April.

The CompTIA study actually consisted of two separate online surveys. One focused on 400 U.S. IT and business professionals employed at high-tech firms. The other surveyed 200 business workers outside of the high-tech industry. The “Diversity in the High-Tech Industry” report primarily is based on the tech-sector responses with some survey responses from the general-business sector brought in for contrast.

The differences in responses from the two groups show just how out of touch …

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