Nearly 70 percent of young tech professionals say they have felt uncomfortable at work based on their identities and lack of inclusion.

Wiley, a developer of digital education solutions, published this stat along with others in its Diversity in Tech: 2021 U.S. Report during the 2021 ASU+GSV Summit. The company surveyed 2,000 early-career tech professionals and 270 business leaders. Wiley found that 68 percent of businesses represented in the report said there is a lack of diversity in their tech workforces.

These key findings may come as a shock since U.S. companies are spending a collective $8 billion a year on diversity and inclusion efforts, yet 50 percent of young tech professionals surveyed said they have left or wanted to leave jobs because of company cultures and unwelcome workplaces.

“This report proves that investment alone isn’t enough to achieve equity in the workplace,” Todd Zipper, president of Wiley Education Services, said in a press release. “We need to take an ecosystem approach to workforce diversity: making science and math education more accessible for all learners from an early age through college, and creating more equitable on-ramps to employment through short-form skilling and ‘last-mile’ training solutions.”

Businesses are unsure of how to address their lack of diversity

More than half, 51 percent, of business leaders said they struggle to recruit diverse entry-level technology professionals, but 89 percent said they plan to recruit junior tech talent this year. While these stats have a nice gap between them, some of that can be attributed to the fact that 22 percent of business leaders said they don’t know how to address their diversity and inclusion issues.

Here are some more key findings from the report:

  • Thirty-one percent of women surveyed said they were concerned about their qualifications to land a tech job or advance in the industry.
  • Only 46 percent of businesses said they are actively addressing and improving their diversity and inclusion efforts.
  • Forty-five percent of businesses haven’t invested in any anti-bias training for their hiring managers.
  • Seventy-seven percent of women of color said they have felt uncomfortable at their jobs because of their gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic background.
  • Overall, 64 percent of participants in the survey said they believe minorities are discriminated against in the tech recruitment process.

Education Matters

There is power in education; technology workers between age 18 to 28-years-old said the most common reason they are pursuing careers in the industry is that they were encouraged to do so in high school. Forty-seven percent of young tech workers in the survey said this is one of their main driving forces, so they want to see schools and higher education institutions do more to promote tech roles to a broader range of students.

This report was published via mthree, a Wiley brand that offers solutions to help build diverse, custom-trained talent pipelines. Of the employees mthree helped place at companies last year, 35 percent were women, and 50 percent identify as Black, Asian, or another minority ethnicity. The company trains and deploys job-ready tech talent to various corporations, including 30 Fortune 500 companies. Wiley believes solutions like mthree can help improve the diverse presence in the tech talent pipeline.

“With nine million unfilled jobs currently in the U.S., the economy will continue to struggle as it experiences a labor shortage, especially if companies are ill-equipped to recruit and retain a diverse tech workforce,” Daniele Grassi, COO for mthree, said in a statement. “Expanding and diversifying talent pipelines will get great workers in high-demand tech jobs faster, benefitting both companies and workers.”