One in three BIPOC tech employees feel discriminated against by their employers, a new report finds.
While a third of minority tech workers aren’t feeling comfortable at work, 67% of them said their company has a diversity and inclusion team that’s supposed to be focused on making sure they feel welcomed and supported, according to information provided to AfroTech.
These findings were published by global data and market research company Savanta. Lead researchers Sadia Corey and Daniel Garcia wanted to publish this report after the civil unrest that swept the nation last year.
“We really felt like after the movement from the summer, George Floyd’s death and some of the protests that were happening, we wanted to keep the conversation going and bring some statistics to some feelings and sentiments that we already know about in the U.S. workplace,” Corey told AfroTech.
As part of Savanta’s Black Lives Matter: Everywhere, Amplifying the voices of minorities in the workplace report, there were 958 BIPOC professionals surveyed from different industries across the U.S., with an additional 544 white professionals surveyed for comparison purposes. The researchers said adding white respondents to the report really highlighted the disparities between the racial groups. And despite employers promising to put their money where their mouths are, BIPOC employees reported that only 31% of their employers matched donations during the BLM movement.
“The powerful thing for me was adding numbers to feelings that I may of already experienced through just being a person of color in the corporate world,” Corey said. “I love just adding volume and normalizing the conversation around these things.”
One of the most shocking data points in the report is the fact that 84% of BIPOC employees who were surveyed said they have experienced discrimination of some nature at their workplace in the past year and 84% said they have experienced microaggressions.
Some further findings from Savanta’s report pertaining to BIPOC professionals overall include:
- One in six BIPOC employees reported that their companies didn’t take any type of action or initiative in reaction to the BLM movement last summer.
- 60% of BIPOC employees said that they feel like their employer provides a safe space for them while at work compared to 80% of white employees.
- 45% of BIPOC employees said true diversity and inclusion starts with a change in leadership.
Overall, Garcia said white respondents feel like their employers are doing the best that they can to foster equality and diversity, while BIPOC employees clearly disagree. BIPOC employees reported that the most common form of action their employers took in response to the civil unrest was simply releasing a statement.
“This isn’t something that was just summer 2020 in the middle of the pandemic,” Garcia said. “This is an ongoing conversation that employers need to continue having and need to continue having outside of work. Hopefully this is a little piece in the catalyst.”
Garcia and Corey said they would love to survey professionals and publish this report again to see if employers are taking the steps to make changes. They also want white employees to take a step back to evaluate how supportive their employers actually are of their minority coworkers.
The Savanta researchers behind this report are hoping these findings will help facilitate change in the workplace. Corey said she would like to see an overhaul of leadership across companies in the U.S. to include more minorities.
“They need to really start looking and listening to their employees of color when making these initiatives around diversity,” Corey concluded.
Here are some tips the researchers included in the report that could help companies be more transparent in this conversation:
- Share employment diversity numbers from the top down with employees.
- When recruiting, look at resumes blinded, so you’re actually just looking at qualifications.
- Put more minorities in CEO roles because that will naturally attract employees that look like them.
“I think overall we all need to do better and I think people in those decision-making roles need to do better,” Corey said. “I think it’s the time for leadership to be humble and open and proactively anti-racist. That’s only a benefit to their brands.”