Diversity Of Silicon Valley Tech Sector Examined

Date: August 05, 2015

Congressional Black Caucus Promotes Increased Minority Hires In Bay Area

The Silicon Valley area has long been a hotbed of startup and small business activity, particularly in the technology sector. However, the area’s growth hasn’t been without controversy. This week, USA Today notes, members of the Congressional Black Caucus flew to the area in an effort to urge tech companies to increase their number of African-American workers. Businesses the CBC was planning to meet with included “Apple, Google, Intel, and other prominent tech firms,” and the conversation was going to involve how the companies “plan to fix their troubling hiring record.” USA Today notes that currently “African Americans represent 2% or less of the work force at most of these companies — and not just in technical roles.” This week’s meetings follow the CBC’s announcement in May of the Tech 2020 initiative, a nationwide campaign to increase recruitment of African Americans to the tech sector. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) in May told USA Today, “The numbers tell the story and action is long overdue. Inclusion of African Americans in the tech workforce has been treated as an afterthought for far too long. As the momentum for change continues to build, companies are starting to see that innovation requires a representative and diverse workforce.” Lee was set to meet with companies this week along with CBC chair GK Butterfield (D-NC) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

What This Means For Small Businesses

Small businesses in the Silicon Valley area, whether in the tech sector or not, seek the right workers to help their businesses grow. Efforts like the CBC’s push to increase diversity among tech sector workers may help some companies find skilled workers. However, government oversight of the hiring process can end up picking winners and losers, as in this case, when the CBC met with large corporations that can easily afford to change their hiring practices quickly and, in many cases, have dedicated teams for recruitment. Still, diversity in the workplace is likely to continue to be an issue for the entire Silicon Valley business community.

Additional Reading

The Sacramento (CA) Bee also covers the CBC meeting. NFIB previously noted efforts to increase diversity in Chicago’s tech sector.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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