The pipeline might not be the problem — according to this new report at least. Kauffman Fellows recently released a report debunking the pipeline problem, a myth used by big tech companies that seeks to blame the lack of qualified Black and Latinx talent for the lack of diversity among their workforce. Simply put, big tech has said there aren’t enough educationally qualified Black and Latinx people which is why representation of people of color is so low among their employees.
In 2016, Facebook came under scrutiny for its explanation about its diversity problem. According to a HuffPost article Facebook’s global head of diversity, Maxine Williams blamed the public education system.
“It has become clear that at the most fundamental level, appropriate representation in technology or any other industry will depend upon more people having the opportunity to gain necessary skills through the public education system,” Williams said.
Williams’ attempted to back her argument with unrelated facts about statewide Advanced Placement Computer Science exams.
“No Black people took the exam in nine states including Mississippi where about 50% of high school graduates are Black, and 18 states had fewer than 10 Hispanics take the exam with another five states having no Hispanic AP Computer Science (CS) test takers,” Williams said.
The Kauffman Fellow report points out that Black high schoolers are not the demographic being discriminated against but Black post secondary graduates are. According to the Kauffman report Black professionals who hold master’s degrees has increased 133 percent and Latinx with master’s degrees has increased to 400 percent from 1980-2016. Although the number of Black and Latinx students are growing, the number of tech jobs held by both demographics are not keeping pace.
Kauffman Fellow and healthcare angel investor, Jason Torres, believes the problem starts at the initial stages of a startup.
“If you do not have diversity early on, including on the founding team, then you will never have a diverse team. Diverse executives hire more diverse executives, so it’s critical to start early,” Torres said in the official Kauffman report.
As big tech and startup tech companies continue to justify their diversity problem, the Kauffman Fellow report proves the pipeline is not the problem.