We Surveyed the State of Diversity in Tech, and the Results Are In

Late last year, Built In conducted its first community survey to gauge the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in the tech industry. We invite you to check out the results.
Built In Staff
March 1, 2021
Updated: July 8, 2021
Built In Staff
March 1, 2021
Updated: July 8, 2021

As technology industry professionals, we create value by diagnosing and solving problems. And few problems cause more harm — or carry the same moral urgency — as institutional discrimination. 

Women, LGBTQ+ techies, people of color, elders and professionals with disabilities are still underrepresented among our ranks. And the toxic residue of colonization, slavery, segregation and legalized discrimination continues to haunt many facets of modern American society, including the tech industry and the products we create. 

Last year we witnessed and contributed to an industrywide moment of reflection. In the months since that extraordinary summer, our coverage of tech’s problem with institutional racism — and conversations about possible solutions — have not stopped. In an effort to inform further dialogue, we asked our community to participate in a pair of surveys to get a handle on the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in the modern tech industry. 

Today, we’re releasing the results of that survey in our 2021 State of DEI in Tech report. The goal is to acknowledge our industry’s shortcomings, discuss challenges and outline concrete steps toward real change. In it, we measure tech professionals’ attitudes toward and experiences with diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, along with employers’ efforts to address systemic racism within their organizations.

The State of DEI in Tech

An in-depth analysis of diversity, equity and inclusion in the technology industry

We sincerely appreciate those who took the time to anonymously share their experiences within our industry. While the report largely focuses on the data we collected from the surveys, we felt it was worth highlighting the experiences of some of our users, in their own words, to provide additional context. Here's a sampling of what they had to say: 

  • “I’m accustomed to the constant reminders that ‘You’re different.’ But the reminders add up. It’s almost like water torture, each drop is frustrating-yet-bearable, but after a certain point it drives you insane. Recruiting diverse backgrounds isn’t enough. You can get women into tech and you can get Black people into tech, but if people don’t know how to confront their own biases and treat those who are different from them with the same respect they show people who are like them, then it’s a wasted effort.”
  • “Generally, I think as an industry we could do a better job of providing more career advancement support for mid-level POC professionals. Since product leadership is usually white, it has been challenging to find a mentor that I’d feel comfortable working with to advance in my career.”
  • “What about ageism?”
  • “There are a lot of qualified candidates of color in the technology space. If you're truly having difficulty finding candidates of color, there are 106 historically Black colleges and universities where you can start.”
  • “It seems like diversity and inclusivity are the next buzzwords being thrown around, but unfortunately I don’t see a lot of action being taken. I and many other minorities in tech are still facing an uphill battle breaking into the industry.”
  • “I’m an African American woman who is under 35 and have been in a management position for eight years in tech. I have always felt as though my opinions were not valued to the same measure as my male and white counterparts. This affected my pay and opportunities for advancement.”
  • “I work at a software company that does care about race, ensures that people are not ignorant to white privilege and provides resources to oppressed groups. This is the first time I feel like I’m being truly and fully seen by my company, instead of having to shush about race. They make me proud to be a Black employee.”
  • “I cannot find a job as a 48-year-old female. People see my graduation date as 1994 and run in the other direction, despite my degree from a top design school. They know they can hire someone cheaper, and they always do. Somehow men my age do not have this problem.”
  • “I hope to see the conversations that have ramped up these last few months turn into actions and standards that are implemented for a lifetime.”

In an effort to put data behind these sentiments, the survey measures diversity in the tech industry at large, attitudes toward wage transparency, feelings of belonging and the effect that intersectional identities have on the success — or lack thereof — of tech’s DEI programs. We found that while the industry made significant progress in 2020, we still have a long way to go. 

As people, we at Built In believe in the moral urgency of this issue. As a business, we are invested in the continued growth of the tech industry — and we know that creating a workforce that reflects and equitably elevates the perspectives of wider society is crucial to tech’s long-term success. We invite you to download the report, join the conversation and discuss how we can begin to meaningfully address the discrepancies between our daily experiences as employees, tech users and members of society. 

The State of DEI in Tech

An in-depth analysis of diversity, equity and inclusion in the technology industry

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