The Elusive Diversity Pipeline

If I hear one more white male say that there is no pipeline connecting tech and minorities, I think I’m going to scream.

Seriously. Well, not so seriously. A black woman screaming in a room full of white people is not a good look.

As I go to these networking events talking about diversity, I run to many people who agree that there is a diversity problem within tech. However, they are so quick to suggest that the problem is the lack of minorities and women within STEM fields. Furthermore, many argue that many minorities are incompetent due to societal factors.

One guy said, “I would love to hire blacks but I struggle to find enough with the adequate skills. A part of it is due to an unequal education system.”

Ok. There is definitely truth to his point. Studies continually point out ethnic and racial disparities within the education system which affect the ‘pipeline’. However, I feel that his answer is a politically correct way of saying, minorities aren’t good enough.

Additionally, I think the way many people pivot to the education system is a mechanism that shifts the burden from whites of actually targeting a pipeline and of being intentional in their efforts to increase diversity.

My counter argument, there is a pipeline. It simply needs to be connected. While networking around Boston, I’ve been meeting some really innovative blacks, Asians, Latinos and women. Black engineers, female data analysts, Latina IT specialists and coders of all ages and backgrounds. As I mentioned in my past few blog posts, these talented people feel marginalized, overlooked and disconnected from the innovation happening in Boston.

So here is a group of talented minorities with adequate skills that the tech community claims doesn’t exist.

How do we connect the worlds? Well, instead of focusing solely on the broken education system, tech companies should check out minority professional associations and recruitment firms like NSBE, The Tech Connection, and Hire Tech Ladies. They should also work with historically black colleges and Hispanic serving institutions to connect the pipeline.

I truly believe that if people become intentional about increasing diversity within tech, the pipeline will be discovered.









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