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Tech Companies Embrace Industry Diversity Recommendations

Leaders in academia and the tech industry signed a report last week, ‘Action to Catalyze Tech,’ advising companies and institutions on how to address the under-representation of women and non-white workers.

A diverse team all standing in a circle putting their hands in the center.
A group of academic experts and tech industry leaders released a report last week asking companies to commit to updating their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies. According to a news release, the report recommended several new hiring and data collection guidelines, among other policies, to address the under-representation of Black and Latino men and women in today’s tech workforce.

The report was published and released through a consortium dubbed Catalyze Tech, spearheaded by policy research organizations such as the Aspen Institute, the National Center for Women and Information Technology, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), and Snap Inc., which worked together this past year to research how businesses can “radically improve" workplace diversity and inclusion, according to the news release.

“The tech industry remains dominated by white men,” Vivian Schiller, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Digital initiative, said in a public statement. “We are glad that so many tech companies are committing to implement recommendations made in this report and eager to support the sector on the path to true equity.”

Founding signatories of the report included CEOs and executives from tech giants that employ more than 500,000 workers, such as Apple, Dropbox, Etsy, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Spotify and Uber. Others came from higher education, such as Harvard Business School, the University of California, Bennington College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The companies pledged to develop strategies for meeting the report’s recommendations, such as creating incentives for inclusive leadership and recruitment and “recognizing DEI as a business imperative.” Signatories of the report committed to solving an “acute lack of computer science teachers from underrepresented backgrounds,” as well as sharing demographic data with the Tech Equity Accountability Mechanism, a new industry research partner led by the Aspen Institute.

The group will convene its first annual DEI Innovation Summit this week, bringing industry leaders and diversity experts together to further discuss how to put the report’s recommendations into action.

“Increasing diversity, equity and inclusion is more than a numbers game. True change occurs when company leaders remove the systemic biases and barriers to fostering inclusive organizational cultures,” Lucy Sanders, CEO and founder of NCWIT, said in a public statement. “It is imperative that we continue to call upon tech companies to take action and contribute to making the tech industry a more accurate reflection of a broad society.”