Big tech layoffs may further disrupt equity and diversity efforts

NEW YORK (Reuters) – 2023 is shaping up to be a tough year for women and minorities in tech, and for those with too many years of experience.

A surge in tech layoffs last year has disproportionately affected women and mid-career talent, making it more difficult to improve diversity in one of the hottest industries, according to research firm data It may have become

In recent years, US tech majors have stepped up their hiring, making diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a priority. But as the industry grapples with over-hiring, rising interest rates, and changes in business and consumer behavior from mid-2020 onwards, technology companies have announced significant job cuts, jeopardizing diversity efforts. Inc’s (AMZN.O) layoffs include more than 18,000 roles as part of previously disclosed job cuts, the company’s CEO said Wednesday. This represents about 6% of the company’s workforce. Salesforce (CRM.N) said Wednesday it plans to cut about 10% of its workforce.

A rare change in big tech companies risks further disrupting already stagnant diversity pledges as companies de-emphasize their DEI efforts.

Companies like Meta Platforms (META.O),, Twitter and Snap (SNAP.N) are planning to sell 97,000 shares in line with 2022 to cope with a slowing economy and shareholder pressure. We have cut more than one person. Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. Up 649% from 2021.

According to data from Revelio Labs Inc, female and Latinx workers accounted for 46.64% and 11.49%, respectively, of tech layoffs from September to December 2022, and these segments accounted for 39.09%, respectively, of the industry as a whole. and 9.96%. A startup that analyzed data from tech layoff tracker and Rocket’s talent database Parachute List.

Reuters Graphics

Revelio Labs senior economist Reyhan Ayas says mid-career hires also outnumber layoffs.

For example, in 2019, Meta committed to doubling the number of Black and Hispanic employees in the U.S. workforce and doubling the number of women in the global workforce by 2024.

Donald Tomaskovic Debbie, a professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, surveyed data on equal opportunity opportunities in the United States from 2008 to 2016 and found that about 7% of tech companies actively diversified their workforce. I found that you are working on it.

Tomaskovic-Devey said if the same pattern holds, current layoffs will lead to a decline in women and non-Asian minorities in tech companies, further cementing the dominance of white and Asian men in the industry. .

Twitter has been hit with a lawsuit alleging the social media company unfairly targets female employees in layoffs.

Snap and Twitter did not respond to requests for comment. Meta declined to comment.

Diversity destruction

Black and Asian talent has been less impacted by layoffs, but unexpected layoffs in the tech industry have forced young and diverse talent to become “cool kids on the block” and high-profile tech companies. Attraction can be difficult, says Morgan DeBaun. He is the CEO of Blavity Inc, which hosts the largest annual Black He Tech conference, He AfroTech.

This will further disrupt diversity initiatives, says Benjamin Juárez, a recruitment consultant and co-founder of Latinos in Tech. As experienced workers settle into entry-level jobs, under-represented talent will face increased competition for entry-level roles, he added.

Entry-level jobs are often the best option for diverse candidates to gain a foothold in the tech industry.

“People entering technology for the first time should expect it can be a long road,” says Amanda, co-founder of HR consulting firm Newance, which builds finance and tech teams at startups. Daering says.

Companies are cutting budget allocated to make the workplace more diverse, said Nadya Johnson, CEO of Milky Way Tech Hub, which helps companies source diverse candidates. .

“Especially in the year or two after the murder of George Floyd, there was a pattern of deferring projects that were priorities at some point,” she said.

Still, some are hopeful.

The Latinos of Tech’s Juarez said he hopes the massive job cuts will create minority-led startups, his preferred solution to the stalled DEI effort.

“We want to increase the number of Latinos in tech, but we are starting to find that some of these DEI efforts don’t work, and we essentially just need to forge our own path. .”

Reporting by Doyinsola Oladipo, New York Editing by Denny Thomas and Matthew Lewis

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