Tag Archives: high tech jobs

Tech Jobs Underpay Black Women and Minorities

Unless you’re a white man working in the tech industry you can forget getting top pay. Hired.com recently published a study indicating that two out of three women working in the technology industry are paid less than men. That’s an improvement over last year when 69 percent of women were paid less compared to 63 percent this year.

But black women appear to be the hardest hit by pay disparities. According to the study African-American women make only 79 cents for every dollar a white man made. Black men made only 88 cents for every dollar paid to white counterparts. This pay gap can cost African-American tech workers as much as $10,000 a year in salary.

Because of the intense interest in increasing diversity in the tech industry blacks are 50 percent more likely to get hired but they are likely to be offered less pay. The study revealed Latino candidates are 26 percent less likely to get hired than a white candidate and Asians are 45 percent less likely. However they are still paid more than blacks but less than white hires. For example Latinos received only $5,000 less that white hires while Asians averages $2,000 less than whites.

Courtesy USAToday

Hired’s study revealed an interesting situation. The average white software engineer in San Francisco and New York asked for $126,000 in annual salary and usually recieved an average offer of $125,000. But blacks seem to be asking for less salary and getting it. Blacks in the San Francisco bay area/Silicon Valley asked for $115,000 and in New York $113,000.

Why are black technology workers asking for less money? According to the report’s author, Jessica Kirkpatrick, blacks maybe asking for less because people base their salary expectations on what they are currently earning. According to Kirkpatrick blacks lower expectations are a reflection of past salary history and being denied raises and promotions.

This pay disparity is not going unnoticed. Google is currently under scrutinity because of accusations that it is underpaying women.  Google recently announced on Equal Pay Day that it hadclosed the gender pay gap globally.But testimony from a Department of Labor official in federal court stated that Google systematically  discriminated against women. The official went on to say that Google’s discriminatory practices were “extreme” even for the tech industry. Google has been under pressure from the federal government to produce pay data to ensure the company is in compliance with anti-discrimination laws. Google has failed to produce the information so far and called the government request a “fishing expedition.”

Black Women in Technology Doing Their Own Thing – Stephanie Lampkin

stephanie-lampkin

Stephanie Lampkin, Founder-CEO Blendoor

Technology and diversity are not synonymous. But that is not to say that African-Americans and people of color are not making efforts and having success in the cyber realm.

Black people have a saying; “Step out on faith.” That means you believe in yourself and a higher power to succeed. These sistahs have knowledge and talent and have stepped out into the tech industry with new and powerful ideas that can change the world. Black women are breaking the mold and shattering stereotypes by making a difference in the tech industry. 

One of the biggest problems in the technology industry, and industry in general, is racial prejudice. It is common for people with so called “black sounding” names to be passed over for employment opportunities. One black woman has decided to fight back.

Stephanie Lampkin launched Blendoor to fight racial bias in hiring practices. Blendoor was one of the winning companies at Google Demo Day. Lampkin’s company also won Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year competition in 2015.  Blendoor is a recruiting application that shields the prospective job candidate’s name, picture and dates to help curtail racial bias in hiring. Blendoor is focused on providing candidates to companies based on “merits not molds.”

“It’s quantifiable,” said Lampkin. “We realized that hiding names and photos created a safer space. Women and people of color felt better sharing their information.”

Racial bias in hiring has tools. Ethnic sounding names and faces of color are often rejected and using the well traveled professional networks can be an obstacle. 

Lampkin believes women, people of color, members of the LGBT community and other minorities in Silicon Valley feel alienated by job search websites that reveal a candidates name and headshot.

Lampkin told Forbes.com; “I know a number of really successful, Ivy League-educated, African-American people between 35 and 45 who refuse to use LinkedIn out of fear of discrimination. These companies are founded by white guys. There’s a psychology I understand as a woman of color that’s driven how and why I’ve shaped the product the way I have.”

Lampkin 31, is an amazing story. She was born into a welfare household and her mother was at one time homeless while pregnant with her. Yet Lampkin over came incredible odds to become the CEO of a technology start up. She learned how to write code by the time she was 13 then went on to graduate from Stanford and MIT and worked for five years at Microsoft.

But Lampkin learned that was not enough. She was still ignored for jobs at major technology companies. As a black woman, Lampkin admits it was probably because she “did not look the part.” She just didn’t fit the mold of what tech companies are looking for. Deliberate or not it is commonly known as pattern matching. Lampkin states that often veterans and disabled people are also sifted out of the candidate pool.

Lampkin remembers advancing deep into the interview process for a prized job at a well-known tech firm in Silicon Valley. In the end she was told her background wasn’t “technical enough” for a role in software engineering.

“The recruiter told me a sales or marketing job might open up,” said Lampkin. She landed at Microsoft where she spent the next five years. Lampkin is nobody’s fool and understands that being a black women was not an asset in the tech industry. Repeated job rejections have taught her that.

Blendoor is not a one way street for companies looking to improve diversity in its ranks. Job candidates can also use the app to examine a company’s inclusion programs and diversity of its executive staff. 

The app will also collect data on who is applying to tech’s most sought-after positions and who is getting them.  “Blendoor wants to make companies accountable using data,” Lampkin said.

Now you know.

 

 

 

Financial Aid Coming to Coding Bootcamps

canstockphoto12791210The U.S. Department of Education is partnering with colleges and universities to launch a new experimental initiative to enable low income students to pay for certain coding bootcamps using federal financial aid.

The program is targeted toward low income students through the Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships or EQUIP. Qualifying students will be able to apply for federal financial aid to enroll in one of eight coding bootcamps, online courses or employer programs.

Coding bootcamps have emerged as an alternative way for low income and minority students to learn the skills they need to break into the technology industry without attending a traditional college or university. The most daunting obstacle is that these programs can be extremely expensive. According to Course Report, a database of information and reviews on coding bootcamps, these courses cost as much as $11,000 per student. Private financial aid has been available but only now has federal aid become available.

However some questions remain about the legitimacy and overall effectiveness of certain bootcamps.  The programs efforts to hold these coding bootcamps accountable include the requirement that all of these “non-traditional” programs partner with a third-party quality assurance entity.

The objective of this experiment is to test additional ways for poor and minority students to affordably access a technology education that leads to good jobs through programs that “fall outside the current financial aid system” and “promote and measure college access, affordability, and student outcomes,” according to the fact sheet. In the first year, about 1,500 students will be eligible for $5 million in Pell Grants, which can go toward paying for classes.

Programs eligible for the financial aid include;

Now you know.