MLT Blog

MLT Perspectives: Information Gap, Not Pipeline Behind Low Diversity Numbers in Tech

Latest MLT white paper and the importance of looking hard at hard problems

By Damian Saccocio, MLT VP Technology and Analytics

Two recent articles caught my attention  — both addressing critical issues in our ongoing national conversation on race and economic security.The first reports on a large study that looked at role models in teaching and its impact on college attainment (NPR); the other is  a sobering reminder of the ongoing racial wealth gap in the United States (Washington Post). While important in their own right, both pieces are examples of how important data can be in shaping perceptions and ensuring reality is part of the conventional wisdom on matters of  national importance.

As it happens, the tech world in which I’ve spent most of my career continues to have a frustrating lack of diversity. That is just today’s reality. Many organizations are working hard on both supply and demand aspects of this challenge and progress is being made, albeit slowly. At the same time, here at MLT we too often read and hear statements to the effect that the lack of diversity in tech is a problem with supply; or as it is typically phrased, a “pipeline issue.”

This despite the fact that national statistics from the likes of the National Science Foundation show that the percentages of minorities  with STEM degrees is 10x what many high profile tech companies have reported in the last few years.  

If it’s not a pipeline issue, what does explain the startling lack of diversity in most high tech companies? To help move the dialogue beyond intuition and personal experience, MLT recently surveyed over 800 of its diverse rising leader alumni  with regard to their perspectives on the tech industry. We hope the resulting paper, MLT Perspectives: Information Gap, Not Pipeline, Behind Low Diversity Numbers in Tech, contributes to the national discussion and the growing stream of research by  adding useful data points and commentary to a complex issue.  Please take a look and let us know what you think. Find us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. And feel free to share with folks who may benefit or have their own contributions.