Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

On Tuesday, Apple released its numbers on workplace diversity, reporting that the overwhelming majority of its employees were white and male. It joins a wave of tech giants who have disclosed their numbers when it comes to race and gender in the workplace, including Google and Twitter, who reported that blacks and Hispanics made up 5 percent of their employees. We talk about the current state of workforce diversity in the Bay Area, and what’s being done about it.

Improving Diversity at Tech Companies 14 August,2014forum

Guests:
Eric Abrams, director of diversity initiatives at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business
Danilo Campos, mobile product designer
Nicole Sanchez, founder and CEO of Vaya Consulting, which advises tech companies on diversity in hiring
Shaherose Charania, founder and CEO of Women 2.0, which promotes the collaboration and growth of women in entrepreneurship
Erik Moore, managing director of Base Ventures, a VC firm based in Berkeley

  • ES Trader

    Isn’t workplace diversity primarily a function of supply and demand between seller and buyer?

    When buyers(employees) seek supply(sellers, employees), like any buyer is limited to what is available.

    Just as not too long ago winter meant unavailability of summer fruits and vegetables, globalization has made ripe fruits, produce and even flowers to become available year round.

    When we shop for our daily meals aren’t convenience, quality, and price the main motivational reasons? Do we patronize grocers with empty shelves, dented and opened packages, bruised or unripe or over ripe fruit and limp lettuce? When a better grocer opens offering quality, convenience, service and price, don’t we at least try it out ?

    Back in 1985, NYC had no Mexican restaurants or even a Taco Bell available, at least one that a Californian would consider Mexican !

    The recent Jesse Jackson forays into silicon valley seems like “grandstanding” ploys for him to remain relevant.

    In biz school back in the 70’s. classes in Organization Management warned how once created, all organizations morph and evolve into entities far removed from it’s original purpose. He should exit the scene as Kodak, Polaroid, Kmart, the 5 & dime and print media.

    It is a fact that women, blacks, and Hispanics do not, in general, gravitate to science, math, and engineering studies.

    Isn’t the “true” barrier lack of motivation and effort to hit the books? Regardless of the social or cultural reasons that may or may not encourage or hinder them from such courses is not the responsibility of the employer (buyer).

    So isn’t the contemporary issues regarding high wages gentrifying San Francisco a result of high wages for tech workers essentially a function of buyer’s need to pay high prices for scarce supply ?

    Like any supply/demand situation, either supply needs to increase or demand needs to decrease for price to fall and falling prices will have unwanted conditions for not only computer science nerds but for waiters, mechanics, clerks, municipal services and everything else that makes living in the Bay Area so attractive.

    • Lance

      The issue queried is about supply availability. Your generalization is to simplistic and doesn’t answering the issue at hand.

      For women it’s what are the barriers making them choose to not enter the STEM market?
      Prior arguments have been the old boys club misogyny, this deters women during high school and college.
      Overtime hours eating into family time, this as a personal choice.
      Maternity leave, this is an ugly issue employers won’t admit as to why they do not hire women.

      For Hispanics and Blacks it’s socioeconomic. Both groups are priced out from being able to compete for the education and positions. Not to mention the discrimination both groups also have to deal with.

      • ES Trader

        Losers always point the finger at excuses for their situation

        • Whamadoodle

          This comment proves the other poster’s point about your comments being “simplistic”

          • ES Trader

            Dealing with self-pity,obfuscation and lack of honesty calls for the lowest common denominator

            Try it it works, the scientific method is observe, gather data, analyze, form hypothesis, test, repeat if necessary.

            Stop feeling sorry for yourself and stop associating with other losers

          • Whamadoodle

            I DON’T feel sorry for myself. I have a great life, thanks!
            Looks as if you failed to gather data before reaching your conclusion.
            Looks as if you also failed to honestly assess the data the program cited, which are the studies showing ~8% of tech student bodies being Latino, whereas only ~2% of those hired are Latino. So… I have to conclude that you have some racist conclusion you’re trying to push, which the data doesn’t support.

            Racists are losers.

          • ES Trader

            So doesnt the fact that 2% were hired suggest that the industry is not motivated by racism ?

            Whether its the NBA, MLB, or NFL, not all the players in the minor leagues or college are drafted into the pro ranks,

            However it’s not that uncommon for undrafted players to make it when they demonstrate that they can help the team win

            Believe me, if anyone, females included, is able to throw a 100mph fastball or95mph slider, consistently for a strike under pressure for a swing and miss or a mishit bloop or easy grounder, they would have instant fame and fortune.

            Minorities desirous of a tech position with high pay forgot about how Jackie Robinson endured to break the color barrier.

            Yes he had Branch Rickey and Leo Durocher along with Happy Chandler behind him but he still had to endure the name calling from players and fans as well as “chin music” from pitchers.

            Branch Rickey chose him because he had the credentials and backbone to make it, he wasn’t just a token.

            Progress and change comes slowly but to maintain an attitude with a chip on the shoulder is not the way.

            Steve Jobs did it by using a little knowledge, Woz, self confidence and showmanship.

            He called Bill Hewlett or David Packard, at their home directly to get parts.

            He walked into Atari’s lobby and refused to leave unless they hired him.

            He did not have a tech connected father. He was given up for adoption in SF from a midwestern mother. His adopted father was a coast guard guy that eventually worked in finance.

            He was motivated to go out and learn from his neighbors, then geek clubs and produce a product that was high quality and wanted by the public( the buyer)

            He dropped out of college in Oregon and was not a graduate of Stanford or Cal engineering school. He did not have a mentor in the early years but once he made it he sought advice from contacts he respected, like Akio Morita. He did not have access to Sony or Parc Xerox from his garage, he EARNED it.

          • Whamadoodle

            Your posts show WAY more of a chip on the shoulder than any of the panelists did.

            The disparity between minority tech students and the jobs they’re being offered, as the panelists mentioned, is something like 4 to 1. If there are four times as many tech students from a given community as are offered jobs, that’s a ratio that white people don’t face. No amount of elbow grease will solve that problem. That’s discrimination.

            I get that you aren’t willing to face data that conflict with your “it’s all Those People’s fault” mantra, so go ahead and take the last word. But that’s what the National Science Foundation’s studies shows, according to the panel. PS: Racism always loses (see World War II).

          • ES Trader

            There are statistics and damn statistics as the saying goes.

            i am not involved in the tech industry, just a consumer but when given the choice between various options, it is not in the interests of the “buyer” to select an inferior product and pay a higher price.

            Many if not most successful techs are publicly held enterprises. As such, stock price in the long term is a function of the growth and profit of that company.

            Competition is fierce for even the biggest techs, Apple has Samsung, Google has Bing and Yahoo, Facebook has a plethora of competitors, Oracle has Salesforce, Netflix has Amazon etc.

            When you are in a contest and reliance is required on your equipment and team, not having it places you at a disadvantage.

            Statistics are easily manipulated to reflect views.

            So go ahead and rant about racism and any other emotional derisive comment you can create and stay in denial or present real life evidence to prove the allegations.

            Are you a hiring manager at a tech firm and were you instructed to hire whites and Asians only?

    • Whamadoodle

      “Isn’t the ‘true’ barrier lack of motivation and effort to hit the books?”
      Briefly: no, you are incorrect.

      Less briefly: tech positions are worlds away from other types of traditional STEM studies. Lumping them together and saying “those people don’t take to that sort of work” is a distortion (though saying that about traditional STEM work probably is too–the female Fields Medal winner is only going to be the first of many). Also, I have seen many, many female, black and latin workers have great success–when they are granted an apprenticeship, and an OPPORTUNITY to learn. The first tech company I worked for did a great job of hiring people of any and every race, and people of every race were equally happy to apply themselves quickly. The company was rewarded with great workers, after they gave them a chance.

      If you have an issue with Jesse Jackson advocating for people of color, and assume it’s an attempt to “stay relevant,” that does not pass scrutiny either; he is doing exactly what he’s ALWAYS done. Unless you’d have accused him of that same thing, every year since he started working with Dr. King (though from the looks of your post, you’d probably have accused Dr. King of the same thing as well).

      The idea that cultivating new talent “is not the responsibility of the employer (buyer)” is short-sighted. Of COURSE apprenticing and cultivating new talent is the responsibility BOTH of the employer and the employee. Under-utilizing one’s human resources is a short-sighted error, which will hinder business development. The government, however, must also help, by creating and/or helping such apprenticeship programs. (The government agency DARPA, after all, invented the Internet as part of a government program.) Showing contempt for human resources and your fellow Americans, and saying “you’re on your own,” is not an intelligent solution.

      • ES Trader

        “Rainbow Coalition” is a camouflage, JJ is not interested in true equality and diversity.

        He railed against the lack of black coaches in pro sports especially the NBA, which evolved into a lack of blacks in management.

        When has he ever spoken up on more Asians and Europeans ? They are significant players of every NBA team today. because they have become very talented and demonstrated it thru international competition.

        Why doesn’t he now ask for more diversity in a league where black players, paid millions, are the majority and whites the minority?

        His hypocritical motives are as transparent as Beyonce’s costumes.

        Be honest with yourself, “to thine ownself be true” as the Bard said.

        Garbage in; garbage out.

  • Robert Thomas

    With respect to workplace diversity in our industry, I have an anecdote. I worked for ten years at the old Silicon Graphics, Inc. of Mountain View (related to but not the same as Silicon Graphics International of Fremont), I’m a pale European American person and a South Bay native but in thirty-five years as a working engineer in technology industry here, only a small fraction of my co-workers have been native to the Valley like me.

    In its peripatetic way, SGI attempted to develop employee prospects at schools around the country through paid internships, among other avenues. A lot of effort was made to recruit at the two California State Polytechnic Universities but we had internal sponsors (employees interested in reaching out to students at their own alma maters) at schools all over the U.S.

    One Summer, I had the privilege to supervise two African American young men who were students at Rutgers (I think both were). One of those guys had done a previous internship at IBM in New Jersey and while all interns are clueless, they were both pretty smart and pretty resourceful. I would have jumped at the chance to hire either or both of them. After the internship was over, our HR and my management made efforts to recruit one of them, to my approval. We failed. One of the guys took a job with Lucent at the former Bell Labs at Murray Hill, near his family home and the other went to (I think) Xerox, near his family home. It was a disappointment.

    SGI had just occupied the building it built as B20 (now the Computer History Museum) and those it built as B40 – B43 (now the “Googleplex”). I’m in awe of the work that once went on at Murray Hill. There’s NO WAY that working at that broken-down relic was more interesting or challenging or rewarding or enticing (OR less overwhelmingly European American and Asian American) than was SGI in those days.

  • Frequentshopper

    with my recent technical training and excellent scholastic performance, I, being a white male, should have no trouble getting a job at Apple in their stores. No, I am also gay and over 50. It’s too bad KQED when writing the lead in for this show let Apple, Jessie Jackson, and the women’s movement dominate the discussion to the point that gender preference and age discrimination are ignored. The one hour propaganda film Apple shows all of their Applestore job applicants is full of carefully selected twenty somethings with some token thirty somethings, with no obviously gay men my gaydar could detect. No accident and no subtle hint there! If Tim Cook had marched in a women’s movement parade or black movement parade in addition to the gay pride parade would that be touted as sufficient proof the Apple Corporation does not discriminate against women or people of color when hiring?

  • Karl Orff

    15% of Apple employees are Asian. 5% of the US population is Asian. Why aren’t we celebrating this diversity success story?

    Is the message that diversity is only for some races? Isn’t that completely racist?

    • Skip Conrad

      Of the 7 billion humans on the planet, 4 billion are Asian. Asians are not a minority group, but rather a majority group. Why should the recruitment of Asians score any diversity points?

      • Robert Thomas

        Because such things as nations, nationality and oceans exist.

      • Karl Orff

        I guess you’re right. The context isn’t that well defined. Are Apple’s stats meant to be framed within the context of the US? California? Santa Clara County? The Western hemisphere? The world? Let’s use global stats as the basis for the conversation.

      • Frequentshopper

        So the fact that African women have 4.5 children to the rest of the world’s 2.5 children means by your comment this problem won’t exist in a decade or two just by virtue of lack of birth control in Africa? Ridiculous argument!

        • jurgispilis

          Ridiculous statement, FS

          • Frequentshopper

            Tell Skip Conrad

      • Do you mean we should have more Asian in the US workforce since they are underrepresented compared to their portion in the world population?

      • Wayne

        So Asians are very under-represented in Apple by 15%, it should be 4/7=60% according to your data.

    • Karl Orff

      My point is not to say there is no problem wrt non-Asians and non-Whites but if the starting point of the conversation is “everything is all wrong” then that robs Asians of the gains they’ve made over the decades (centuries).

    • Karl, the Asians you speak of are mostly imported, yes? White + imports is hardly diverse.

      • Karl Orff

        The Asians were imported? Not sure I’m following you.

        You import goods and services. If you’re implying that Asians are chattel to be imported like a box of bananas then that’s a very racist outlook. Slaves were imported. Free people are not imported.

        Perhaps you meant to say many of them were immigrants?

        I’m not sure about the percentage of immigrants vs US born Asians in technology or the US population. Does that really matter? The topic was “diversity” and that was taken to mean race and gender. We can throw in country of origin as well. That will muddy the discussion but there’s no hope of this discussion generating any meaningful outcomes so let’s muddy away.

        Are you suggesting that we further clarify “diversity” so that those born outside the US are excluded from the stats? Blacks and latinos born outside the US should not count towards diversity metrics? That seems very odd.

        • Guess you’re not from around here (Silicon Valley.) I wasn’t trying to be cryptic I’m merely stating that it is well known and documented that a vast majority of “Asians” as counted in these diversity reports, are H1B visa holders from India and China. Look it up. Yes, it makes companies look diverse, but if suddenly the H1B visa program was ended (which of course it won’t be), the reality of who gets hired would be even more homogenous white. That’s all.

          • Diversity means a little bit of EVERYONE – that’s not the representation we see today, that’s why this conversation was started. It’s about different races, ethnic groups, male and female….all.

        • Frequentshopper

          You make it sound like we took the Diversity topic to mean race and gender. It was the black show host and the producers that did that. When the LGBT question was brought up, the sole female guest quickly diverted the issue and claimed the LGBs get all the attention so we should talk about cisgender and transgender discrimination. Fact is it’s bisexual men who aren’t even on the radar. In ancient Greece bisexuality was the norm and having studied that culture which spurred my interest in bisexuality I think it is the most natural condition for most people to be bisexual. Bisexuals can hide their preferences easily if they want to. Many bisexual males probably feel unaccepted by gays, lesbians or straights and stay closeted. For the past two years I have been notified every time the word bisexual appears in the text for a Youtube video. Of all the notifications I received 95%+ were about bisexual women and were mostly admissions by or speculations about this or that celeb being bisexual. I could count on one or two fingers the ones by bisexual men which included an extremely thoughtful and well spoken British transplant in LIBERAL Austin Texas.

  • Robert Thomas

    What are the ethnic demographics of the financial services sector in San Francisco? How about the advertising sector in San Francisco? How about the petroleum engineering sector? How about Bechtel?

    “The paper was conceived by the ASCE/SEI Young Professionals Committee; a complete report will be available from SEI in 2013…
    “The data were collected for the top engineering programs ranked by US News & World Report (2012)…

    Undergraduate students in civil engineering [12,805 students]

    26.1 % women
    1.8 % African American
    14.9 % Hispanic
    86.7 % white

    Undergraduate students in structural engineering [973 students]

    24.3 % women
    2.7 % African American
    9.9 % Hispanic
    82.5 % white

    “Gender and Racial Diversity in the Structural Engineering Profession”
    E. N. Leong. Dept. of Civil, Env. & Arch. Eng., Univ. of Colorado Boulder, et. al.

    http://bechtel.colorado.edu/~liel/publications_files/GenderDiversityDraft_FINAL_Rev_v1.pdf

  • Maureen Cadigan

    Please include AGE bias/discrimination of people over 40!

  • Sean Dennehy

    Whites and Asians dominate college campuses, especially in tech majors. If we want more non-Asian minorities in tech companies, we need to reach out and get more non-Asian minorities in tech majors in colleges.

    • Frequentshopper

      Dominate is a loaded choice of words.

      • Sean Dennehy

        Not really.

    • jurgispilis

      reduce the number of student visas issued to Asians, is another strategy.

  • Ben Rawner

    Don’t u think its kind of rediculous that u have a panel filled with people who do not represent the two largest groups in tech, namely white and asian? How is it a balanced conversation about race and inclusion without a voice representative of all groups involved.

    • marte48

      Maybe they are too busy making money.

    • Yes! The conversation is totally skewed to begin with

  • Pontifikate

    Is no one talking about the elephant in the room? Age discrimination. Plenty of older people are qualified, but no one in tech wants them. That this is rarely even mentioned, let alone investigated or prosecuted, tell us that talk of “diversity” is just that.

    • Pipe Ey

      Female plus over 40 = not even considered.

      • Pontifikate

        Of course. The worst demographic to be in and probably one of the best qualified.

        • joanw

          replied to this earlier: I work at Google. I’m a white female and I was hired when I was 50. My friend, another white female, was hired at 62, and I met an engineer (white, female) who was hired at 72. It’s true that we are older than maybe 98% of the people here but afaik age is not a factor in hiring. We also have an internal group, called Grayglers, who regularly meet with executives and have effectively changed policies that affect seniors such as additions to insurance coverage and not considering gpa for people over 40 as a factor in hiring.

          • Pontifikate

            Good to know. But I’d still like age to be considered in diversity numbers and I’d like to know what they are, not just anecdotal reports. I don’t recall my GPA nor my SATs (yes, it’s been that long), but I’d say my judgement probably outscores most people half my age. Too bad there’s no “score” for that.

  • Robert Thomas

    I just heard the imbecilic characterization that Cisco Systems is a “Software Giant” from the mouth of a KQED news reader.

    What the ENTIRE workforce at KQED understands about the local technology industry, you could put under the eyelid of a little child and he wouldn’t notice it. I perhaps single out KQED unfairly; it’s the same for ALL journalists in ALL media, everywhere.

    • Whamadoodle

      It’s possible it was just a slip of the tongue?

      • Robert Thomas

        No.

        • Whamadoodle

          Thank God–I’d hate to see them get their heads ripped mercilessly off, if they’d simply meant to say “hardware”!

          • Robert Thomas

            I heard it twice, It was passed to a newsreader by a producer and written by an editor somewhere who has no idea what Cisco Systems, a worthy competitor of mine, is or does.

  • jurgispilis

    Can a company meets it’s diversity obligations by hiring foreign workers? Note, this technique does nothing for American black youth unemployment.

  • Ken

    How about including rampant age discrimination in this discussion? Where is an over 50 panel member that has worked in tech? The recent “diversity data” revelations by Silicon Valley companies do not include age information, but noone seems to advocating against this common, illegal practice and for revelation of the relevant data.

    • Pontifikate

      No, older people (over 40) are just supposed to fade away and not make a fuss. It’s an outrage that it’s not even considered, measured or prosecuted.

      • Frequentshopper

        Prosecution is Kamala Harris’ job. Tell her to do her job!

        • Pontifikate

          The state doesn’t even keep statistics on it so how would she prosecute. Lip service only.

  • Pipe Ey

    Where is the discussion about AGE bias? I have a 42 year old friend at Facevook who says he’s older than 95% of the workforce? Observe very little openness to interviewing anyone over 32.

    • joanw

      just posted for another reply as well: I work at Google. I’m a white female and I was hired when I was 50. My friend, another white female, was hired at 62, and I met an engineer (white, female) who was hired at 72. It’s true that we are older than maybe 98% of the people here but afaik age is not a factor in hiring. We also have an internal group, called Grayglers, who regularly meet with executives and have effectively changed policies that affect seniors such as additions to insurance coverage and not considering gpa for people over 40 as a factor in hiring.

      • Pipe Ey

        That is fantastic news to hear. While 98% is still something to look at closely, it’s wonderful to hear that all age groups and levels of life experience are represented. Hope the trend and uptick in numbers continues.

  • Brian Guan

    Not saying the lack of diversity is ok for tech, but IMHO other prominent industries like sports and entertainment, not to mention politics (just look at congress…) seems to be equally bad or worse. Would like to see some comparative data…

  • Storm

    One of the guests alluded to the importance of institutional racism and pointed out that, if Silicon Valley was actually hiring the ‘best and the brightest,’ that their demographics would be significantly different. I think it would be helpful if she talked more about that and how she’s making that determination – thanks.

    • LaotianDave

      You mean the ones without CTS degrees? Do market signals mean nothing?

      • Storm

        Not sure what you mean by “CTS degrees” – but Ms. Sanchez said the picture in SV would be different if SV was actually a meritocracy – SV thinks it is – so if she’d talk about how the picture would actually be different and point to the way she’s come to that conclusion, that would be helpful.

        • LaotianDave

          Computer Technology Science, I think she thinks that it would include more people who code in their basement than just those with BS degrees.

  • Marlene Miller

    I second the motion to include AGE discrimination, not only in Tech per se, but when tech alumni take jobs in tech departments in non-Tech organizations.

    • joanw

      I work at Google. I’m a white female and I was hired when I was 50. My friend, another white female, was hired at 62, and I met an engineer (white, female) who was hired at 72. It’s true that we are older than maybe 98% of the people here but afaik age is not a factor in hiring. We also have an internal group, called Grayglers, who regularly meet with executives and have effectively changed policies that affect seniors such as additions to insurance coverage and not considering gpa for people over 40 as a factor in hiring.

      • Greg D

        We won’t really know though since Google doesn’t report any numbers on the age distribution of it’s workforce.

  • marte48

    ditto the age bias.

    • joanw

      I work at Google. I’m a white female and I was hired when I was 50. My friend, another white female, was hired at 62, and I met an engineer (white, female) who was hired at 72. It’s true that we are older than maybe 98% of the people here but afaik age is not a factor in hiring. We also have an internal group, called Grayglers, who regularly meet with executives and have effectively changed policies that affect seniors such as additions to insurance coverage and not considering gpa for people over 40 as a factor in hiring.

      • Robert Thomas

        This seems forthright and is good news.

  • sally

    Please include a discussion about diversity in family situations. Not everyone can work 9 – 5 in an office. Google does not offer part-time jobs or telecommuting jobs. I am having a hard time finding a job because I need to be home by 4pm to pick my kids up from school. How is silicon valley accommodating for working families?

    • joanw

      Google does offer part-time jobs, telecommuting jobs, and job shares. I know, because I work there. It’s in the employee handbook.

  • Greg D

    Your program jumped straight to the assumption that racism is the driving factor for the composition of the tech workforce, but ignores the glaringly obvious fact that one cannot recruit large numbers of minorities for tech jobs if there are only small numbers of minorities with the proper training.

    Please compare the makeup of the workforce with the makeup of the pool of qualified candidates, not the general population!

    All the rest of your program is wasted when you start with a false premise.

    By the way, since when are asians not a minority too?

    • Agree!

      Yes, since when are Asians not a minority too?

      • LaotianDave

        since they dominate tech?

        • Robert Thomas

          So, Muslim Americans are not a minority because they are prominently represented in Dearborn?

          • LaotianDave

            if you are talking about the population of Dearborn.

          • Robert Thomas

            Then you’re saying that Asian people are NOT a minority in the technology industry in Santa Clara Valley but ARE a minority in the technology industry in, say, New York’s 88% white, 1.5% Asian “Tech Valley” region, although they’re represented prominently in the technology workforce, in both places?

          • LaotianDave

            Are you going to suggest that Asian workers are represented at lower rates than they exists in the population at large?

          • Robert Thomas

            Frankly, I’ve lost your point.

            You responded to the assertion – that it’s inaccurate to describe our local technology industry as minority averse, since the Asian minority is prominently represented – by implying such Asian workers in fact don’t count as a minority “since they dominate tech”.

            This is a circular argument. It’s the same as saying that Asians can’t be a minority since they “dominate” the workforce of the industry we’ve defined as inimical to minority employment.

            It’s just silly.

            The assertion that the technology industry resists minority ethnic hiring is unsupportable, transparently ideologically driven nonsense, on its face.

          • Whamadoodle

            It is supported by the National Science Foundation data the panelists, cited, though, which indicate only about 1/4 of Black and Latino tech students actually end up being hired. By all means, I’ve worked for SOME diverse tech companies, but that data says that my anecdote isn’t borne out by the experience of most applicants.

          • LaotianDave

            http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/ it doesn’t say what you think it says.

          • LaotianDave

            That was the assertion as it relates to Asian workers per Min Liu’s point, not minorities as a whole.

          • Robert Thomas

            What can be meant by “minorities as a whole”? How can I decode this?

            Either the industry – that was overwhelmingly white when Bob Noyce and the Varian brothers and Hewlett and Packard established themselves here – has invited non-white European workforce to join it or it hasn’t. If the representation of particular ethnicities are lower than we wish, it isn’t because the old white guys refused to embrace not-old-white-guys as their colleagues.

            If what’s meant is that the region has been inimical to African American or Hispanic employees or to female employees, then address that. It’s obviously NOT inimical to other than the dominant ethnic group.

            Then, please address the comparable statistics for attendance at schools of civil engineering or structural engineering I’ve posted here elsewhere, or the employment demography of petroleum engineering or other chemical engineering or any other technical sector across the nation or for financial services or public relations or magazine editing or cardiology or any other branch of medicine, for that matter.

          • LaotianDave

            Am I the first person to tell you asians and hispanics are not the same?

            To the last paragraph, you are completely incorrect if you believe minorities are comparable represented in STEM colleges, and frankly if that is your basis of understanding, one must start from the beginning.

            Oh and well done with the word a day calendar.

          • Robert Thomas

            If you bothered to read my post here elsewhere about attendance (and consequent availability for the workforce) of ethnic minority members pursuing these other technical disciplines, you might have noticed that my point is that with respect to the prominent technology industry in Silicon Valley, these other statistics are comparably low. We can agree that in no case is this desirable, but it’s far from being a feature of technical industries unique to our experience parochially.

            I nowhere said that “Asian” and “Hispanic” meant the same thing.

            If you’re intimidated by vocabulary, maybe this isn’t the best venue for you to shine, brave Guest.

          • LaotianDave

            I can understand that you are trying to sound smarter than you are but surely we can discard that facade, and shoot for concision.

          • Robert Thomas

            Fire away, buddy.

    • Whamadoodle

      They DID compare them. They cited statistics showing that people of color were tech students in percentages around four times the percentages that are actually hired in tech. Since they didn’t start with a false premise, then the program is not wasted.

      • Greg D

        Hmmm. I listened to the entire show and didn’t hear that bit. I must have been distracted for a moment! Nevertheless, I’ll bet the number they cited was still very, very low and then they returned to wondering why the number in the workforce isn’t equal to that of white males. They also dismissed the issue by saying that the tech enrollment in a few predominantly- black colleges is in fact high–a non sequitur. They miss the root cause which is low minority tech enrollment in colleges across the nation. We can’t fix the problem if we don’t diagnose it correctly!

      • Danny

        Whamadoodle,
        You have used this statistics few times as support for your arguments, what is the link to this statistics, peer review, and analysis on its validity? What is the current statistics and composition of computer-related graduates from reputable colleges? What is the deficit of unfilled engineering positions that force companies to hire immigrants?

    • joanw

      I don’t know about statistics for diversity in people studying tech, and I’ve always wondered about it. But I do know that here at Google, where I’m a tech writer and 60 years old, we have a very active diversity team that regularly reaches out to employees to get referrals for more diverse candidates and has outreach programs within the community. Yes, the workforce is mostly white, Indian, and Asian, but I don’t believe that discrimination is the reason. Not sure what is…

  • Robert Thomas

    I’ll tell you a secret.

    Not being able to pronounce the word “silicon” as other than a mispronunciation of “silicone” (i.e., in the never-had-high-school-chemistry “journalist” way) is an immediate deficit.

  • Nilika Shah Singhal

    Women are completely underrepresented in Silicon Valley but beyond that, experiment sexual harrassment regularly. As a rule.
    It is astonishing how the “forward-thinking” culture in Silicon Valley is overshadowed by a 17th-century mentality towards women.

  • As a tech consultant who’s worked at Silicon Valley’s largest companies, I can tell you that the “death by a thousand cuts” is a HUGE issue. Institutional discrimination comes in many forms.

  • Abdul Kafi

    Okay. I live in SJ. Im from CA. Living in SJ includes no social participation from Indian(s). Especially DWTN SJSU !! Woa. And, Im a CCNP around and deel heavily and know them. Now.

  • Sue

    Hate to say it, but as more Silicon Valley tech companies are headed up by men raised and educated in Asia, they import their own gender biases to the detriment of women who work at those companies

    • Robert Thomas

      Why do you hate to say it?

      • LaotianDave

        because it is kind of racist.

        • Sue

          Yep, it sounds racist, but I’m noticing how progress made by women over several decades in America is eroded when people from other cultures that do not have a tradition of feminism make fast entry to positions of power in the U.S. by means of their own wealth and an airplane ticket

        • Robert Thomas

          Is it true, though, or is it false?

          I understand reluctance to claim it, if it’s really not the case but only a misperception and I understand reluctance to claim it if it is true, as it uncomfortably indicts all hiring in our industry, not only hiring by Asian “heads”.

          • LaotianDave

            I believe Sue’s rebuttal cover it, but it was removed by what I can only imagine are over zealous political correctness aficionados. It was her contention that asian money was buying top positions and importing their customs.

  • Bill

    Maybe the premise from which the program started is not valid. Lack of diversity seems to have been defined as lower percentages of some ethnic groups employed than respective percentages in the population at large. But what if the comparison were between percentages of qualified members of each ethnic group and the percentage of those ethnic groups employed? Put another way, if only 2% of ethnic group A is qualified for high tech jobs and only 2% of high tech jobs were held by members of that ethnic group, that would not indicate discrimination, subtle or otherwise, by high tech companies. It would indicate a larger, societal problem.

    • Whamadoodle

      Unfortunately, though–and they might not have cited this yet at the time when you posted this–the figures the panelists cited from the National Science Foundation indicate this is not the case. Only about 1/4 of minority tech students, going by that data, are being hired in tech, so it seems clear there is a problem with discrimination in hiring. (Not to mention the “Lakeisha versus Emily” study, showing the same thing from a different angle.)

  • marte48

    When affirmative action was first implemented, it benefited white women more than black men.

  • LaotianDave

    Does the gentleman without a computer science degree really think he would have as easy a time getting a tech job vs someone who does?

    There are real problems in the minority communities and you have all just waisted everyone’s time on the symptoms not the core issues. Does the entire Bay Area forget Oakland exists?

  • Frequentshopper

    Just because Apple and or some other tech companies didn’t release figures for age or LGBT diversity does not mean KQED should have gone along to limit the discussion too. Shame on you! Token mentions by name without discussion does not get any points for KQED regarding this topic. You can’t claim this is a discussion about DIVERSITY and to promote it as such is an insult to me! This is only a discussion about race and gender!

  • Whamadoodle

    We need to form apprenticeship programs to include people of all gender, ethnic, race, and sexual orientation groups. This would benefit our businesses, our workers, and our country equally, so it should be participated in by all three as well.

  • Srinivasan Ramaswamy

    I am curious about the diversity at KQED. If its not ideal in terms of diversity , does it mean there is racism at KQED ?

    I think we should talk about the cause rather than the end result. Like lot of other commenters pointed out the tech classes in schools have the same diversity as the companies. One other main point of cause is tech interest cultivated in young minds of all races.

    • LaotianDave

      Are you saying instead of giving extra points to under represented groups one might want to provided more training to under represented groups? How novel

  • Reid

    Traditionally, tech workers *were* self-taught, just like the guest who spoke about having no college degree. Most of us do NOT rely on college recruiting to start us on our careers. The problem with relying on anecdotal evidence is that you’ll hear stories about Google hiring based on SAT scores (even though I was never asked my SAT score before I was rejected by the Google hiring process). Nobody can expect to get the most prestigious job, regardless of gender or ethnicity.
    I agree with Eunice that it’s somewhat insulting to look at all of the diversity in the Valley, and then reject it out of hand just because it’s “not good enough”.
    That said, the numbers being released by major tech companies do show that there is certainly a problem; I hope it is used to examine hiring processes in order to hire a workforce more representative of the region, rather than just a hiring process that looks to check boxes.

  • Maggie

    I apologize if you’ve already covered this, but can you ask your panel about opportunities for LGBT individuals in tech company employment and any relevant resources? Thank you!

    • LaotianDave

      Do you find that hiring managers ask whether you are LGBT?

      • Frequentshopper

        No, right or wrong, everyone makes a judgement, sometimes subconscious and always subject to change as more evidence becomes available, as to what your gender preference is, just as they do for what your gender is. Have you ever met someone and not made an assumption as to what their gender is? If you were not sure, did you not give it a second thought. If not, what pronoun did you use when referring to them? If you agree people tend to hire people like them then all they need to do to discriminate is subconsciously or consciously sense that this person is not like them, even if they don’t know exactly why they feel that way, and not make the conscious decision to overcome that bias. It is that simple.

        • LaotianDave

          So you are suggesting that the hiring managers know resumes are gay. Or are you suggesting that during the interview “cultural fit” means no LGBT people? And if the corporate culture is not LGBT friendly the best thing to do is force it?

          How often do you think gender identity is the reason for not hiring someone? Do all of those who may be not fit into the binary gender world are unemployed?

          Ugly people Fat people, the bespectacled all are at a disadvantage when it comes to hiring, do we have Jon Hamm and then various protected groups?

          • Frequentshopper

            Are you for real? What state are you living in? I don’t know about Mississippi, but here in California nobody even acknowledges having read you resume much less schedules an interview with you before doing due diligence investigating you. This means Linked-in, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. If you can’t figure out my gender preferences and my approximate age looking at my easy to find online information I’m a deeply closeted gay man and you are a moron. In this litigious state employers get legal advice about their hiring practices and take actions to minimize lawsuits by eliminating people they don’t want to hire before any face to face meeting which is much more likely to arouse suspicion leading to legal action. Yes it is impossible to prove these types of discrimination without the cooperation of Attorney General Kamala Harris, but corporate lawyers err on the side of caution, hence the ridiculously long disclaimers they write that you don’t read before signing.

            Post your resume and I’ll tell you all sorts if things about yourself.

          • LaotianDave

            Sounds like someone hasn’t found the privacy settings on their Facebook and has listed their sexual preference on their linked in. Those are choices. If you are too out an too proud to sit quietly in your cubicle you probably won’t be hired. Sounds like you are someone complaining that they didn’t get a job they weren’t qualifed for because of some perceived bias. The real world isn’t mills college.

          • Frequentshopper

            I haven’t even seen your resume and I already know you are straight.

          • LaotianDave

            How dare you! Some of us queers just don’t tattoo our sexual preference on our foreheads. So my sexual preference/gender identity are between me, my boy friend and my doctor.

  • Juliet

    I would like to hear from someone who is working in human resources at tech companies, as HR is usually the first point of contact as a prospective employee. How are HR departments selecting applicants to move forward?

    • pegordon

      And how those HR departments are tracking the efficacy of their recruitment and retention processes.

  • Frequentshopper

    Glad you had a program about age discrimination in Silicon Valley once. Problem solved . You need not ever cover that again. Thanks.

    Wrong! Your program claims to be about DIVERSITY!

  • kmad1729

    I am an Indian male working in the silicon valley. I don’t really agree to the point that we need to do address diversity at a professional level. We had rather do that at an academic (college) level. The amount of time needed to build great products like facebook, twitter, google is really long. The tools required for the job are mostly learnt at school.
    So lesser the diversity in college –> lesser diversity in tech industry.

  • pegordon

    A driver of discrimination is the misplaced emphasis on specific technology skills rather than conceptual skills and adaptability as a filter in hiring. The tech skills are easier for in-house and external recruiters to assess but are poor indicators of job performance – and often those skills are irrelevant to the position.

    • LaotianDave

      So being not being able to code should not disqualify you from a coding position?

      • pegordon

        There’s a lot more to producing and supporting a successful product than coding. A coder is like a line cook at a large restaurant – a necessary position but not the most critical and certainly not the hardest to replace.

        • LaotianDave

          Chefs need to know what a line cook does.

    • Frequentshopper

      As a long term AppleCare subscriber. let me assure you where Applestore hiring and over the phone tech support is concerned a “misplaced emphasis on specific technology skills” is not present in hiring in the Bay Area or at the phone support centers. With the exception of a somewhat cocky but knowledgable black guy they transferred all the way from one of their Miami stores after they let their most knowledgable employee, a white guy, get hired away by another company, an emphasis on youth and an “appearance of diversity” where race and gender is concerned has resulted in my almost total frustration with trying to get competent tech support. The Austin Texas phone support center they were transferring all my ipad questions to was staffed entirely by women who seemed to know nothing about using an ipad. These were not technical questions. It has been extremely rare that a male phone tech support person has been unable to answer my questions for the ipad much less the imac. The woman that worked at the Applestore helping Applecare subscribers that knew a lot was promoted out of the store to corporate. Just my experience over about 5 years and 100+ tech support calls and dozens of help sessions at the Downtown SF Applestore. So either these affirmative action hires are not tech savy enough to be trained or Appke is hiring them and nit training them to do their job.

      • pegordon

        In my experience quality tech support is most dependent on two factors: excellent communicators and a properly instantiated support process including a database of previously resolved problems and performance metrics focused on customer satisfaction.

        • Frequentshopper

          When it comes to this customer my satisfaction is based on solving my problem quickly. Given only two choices, I’ll take a rude, arrogant know it all that knows it all over a nice polite person that can’t help me but goes through the motions anyway, wasting my time. fortunately, the ones with all the answers have nothing to fear and therefore no reason to be arrogant or rude. Apple seems to have gone to the two tiered phone support system. It is supposed to save them money and allows them to hire more women in tech support. When the first tier can’t answer the question, they connect you to the second tier, the men who can. Since I almost always have to be connected to the second tier anyway, I think the only way this can save Apple money is by wasting so much of my time that I am less likely to call at all. Otherwise the motive must have to be to meet some female hiring quota.

  • Ann Melious

    Attrition of women. My daughter is the sole woman writing code in a small tech company. She shares work space with men (boys?) who make jokes while farting, think it is funny to ask her to make coffee and discuss their love lives and lack thereof in detail. She is planning to leave.

    • LaotianDave

      So your daughter joined an industry dominated by young males and does not want to work with young males?

      • Ann Melious

        You got it!

        • LaotianDave

          Well that sounds like a personal problem.

          • LaotianDave

            Riddle me this Ann, How many conversations about menstruation should I have to endure in my female dominated office?

    • Frequentshopper

      If anecdotes are proof, heres’s mine. I worked as a structural engineer for the largest Architectural firm in the world 33 years ago. The branch I was at grew from 0 to 200 employees in less than 5 years, so we were all new hires or transfers. They had two female engineers out of about 10. One was great at her job and the other I did not work with or very near but one of the competent male engineers who had to help her told me she was not competent and was an “affirmative action” hire. I never heard any harassment or misogynistic talk about women there. My previous job was at a small firm with misogynistic talk amongst the younger males as well as assumptions that I was straight and out for p&$$y. They hired their first female engineer and as I was the newest hire and a recent graduate expected me to train her. She was recently from Russia and seemed to know nothing about structural engineering, Having to teach her things she should have known pissed me off and contributed to me leaving that company in a small way. This was a job for which a mistake could result in someone’s death.

  • Ed

    What really bothers me about this conversation and all this outrage toward tech companies is that it is SO far off the root cause. This is not to say that there isn’t any racial bias in hiring, but white and asian males make up the vast majority of people who study computer science. This is obvious old news to anyone in the field, and to anyone else who has paid attention. The root cause of this racial distribution starts EARLY, in the families, communities, and schools in which the underrepresented minorities grow up, and whatever small bias exist in hiring is just noise.

    • Whamadoodle

      The panelists cited figures showing that although Latinos represented 8% of the students in tech studies, only 2% of them were being hired, and similar figures for other people of color. Yes, that means the vast majority of people who study it aren’t people of color, but it also means there is vast disparity in their hiring. I do feel that we should do a better job of encouraging people of color early in their education, but I don’t think there’s any way to excuse that disparity.

      • joanw

        what percent of white or asian maies in tech studies get hired? Not 100% for sure, but I don’t know what the numbers are. It might parallel the discrepancy in the studied – hired ratio of people of color. It’s hard to say.

      • Robert Thomas

        “What does “in tech studies” mean? At what institutions? Emerging with what skills? Concluding with what success?

        As I wrote here elsewhere, someone somewhere decided that “tech occupations” are limited to software engineering, the mammothly meaningless “systems analysis”, “database management” and “support specialist”, excluding everyone who knows how a transistor works.

        • Whamadoodle

          “What does ‘in tech studies’ mean?”
          My links to the studies in question are just two posts below this one; you can look for yourself and see what the panelists meant. It may well bear out the point that you’re making, and contradict what the panelists said, and I haven’t time yet to dig deeply into it. If you find that it does contradict what they or I claimed of it, please let me know.

          (Although I’ll be REALLY surprised if you find that it contradicts you instead, and then admit it, as I’ve yet to see you admit to being wrong about anything on these boards. If you have never done so, it would be kind of you to save me the trouble of arguing with you. So if you never do so, please do a brother a favor, and just say “yes, I never admit it when I’m wrong about something.” If you claim you never HAVE been shown to be wrong about something, I’ll take that as saying the same thing.)

          • Robert Thomas

            I didn’t deny the statistics. I just asked for specificity, that you didn’t supply.

            Where have I been wrong, here?

            I’m racking my brains for instances where anyone has posted mea culpas here for their factual or reasoning errors. I can think of fewer than would take the fingers of one hand to count.

            I recently retracted a conjecture about the navigational sense of cartilaginous fishes being based on sensation of induced electric current, which is inaccurate, rather than on their sensation of induced electric potential which is the case.

            Due to my misunderstanding, I misstated the function of the Lipopolysaccharide O-antigen chains of gram-negative bacteria in their pyrogenic effect, and I copped to it. I am only a lay person.

            I had to admit to thucy on a KQED board that I couldn’t find a recollected reference to the use in The New York Times of the adjectives Issei and Nisei to describe by analogy the distinction between immigrant generation and first-generation people of other than Japanese persons. It occurred to me this might have been in the New York Review instead, but I was stymied trying to find it there, either. I threw in the towel.

            Is your view that in commenting on something about which I know, as a San Jose native who’s worked as an engineer in the computing and communications machinery industry in Silicon Valley for over thirty-five years, I should defer to nonsense?

          • Whamadoodle

            I just asked a simple question: do you admit it when you’re wrong? You answer yes; I am perfectly happy to take your word for it. Just wanted to avoid wasting time, in case all your posts’ high-handedness meant you were incapable of it.

            Moving on: I, too, have many years of experience in computing; I have experienced life at inclusive workplaces. However, incidentally: have you worked in all the United States’ tech industry capitals, or only in one? Do you know for a fact that racism, though it doesn’t exist in your area, doesn’t exist in others?

            Also: the panelists cited these studies to support their conclusion that tech companies hire only around 1/4 of the numbers of people of color that they should, given the number of students of color in what the panelists (none of whom what you refer to as the grade school-level journalists at work) refer to as tech studies.

            That was THEIR claim; I posted links to the studies they referred to; I was perfectly honest in saying that if you found anything in them to contradict what the panelists claimed, I’d love to see it, but that I didn’t have time at the moment to look into the data. You can certainly claim that I failed to explain the panelists’ claim sufficiently. However, you can’t claim that I failed to provide the data that the panelists referred to to bolster their claim. Nor can you claim that it DOESN’T support their claim, if you’re unwilling to look at it, or don’t have time yourself. The best you can claim is “well the panelists cited a study, and Wham provided a link to it, but I don’t have time to figure out whether it supports the claim.”

          • Robert Thomas

            At

            Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering

            http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/race.cfm

            I found

            Engineering:

            White
            52,352
            Black
            3,218
            Hispanic
            7,173
            Asian
            9,243

            Total:
            71,986

            TABLE 5-7. “Bachelor’s degrees awarded, by race or ethnicity, citizenship, sex, and field: 2012 ”
            http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/pdf/tab5-7_updated_2014_05.pdf

            indicating that close to a 10% share of baccalaureate engineering degrees are awarded to Hispanic persons; and then at

            Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2013

            http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/pdf/nsf13304_digest.pdf

            A: Scientists and engineers working in science and engineering occupations: 2010

            White: 69%
            Black: 5%
            Hispanic: 6%
            Asian: 18%
            Other: 2%

            C: Employed Hispanics 16 years and older as a percentage of selected occupations: 2011

            Science: 5.6% [estimated from graphic]
            Engineering: 5.7%

            D: Employed blacks 16 years and older as a percentage of selected occupations: 2011

            Science: 7.0%
            Engineering: 4.9%

            Occupation; (p.8)

            suggesting a disparity between the share of recent Hispanic engineering graduates and the share of Hispanic persons currently employed in engineering of less than two to one, which while dismaying is not close to four to one, and not materially different from the Hispanic experience in the natural sciences. What the ratio of the number of recent white or Asian engineering graduates is with respect to those from these groups now working in the field, I did not find.

            The data for engineering and sciences is skewed somewhat by the reports’ indulgence in the absurdity that “computer science” is actually science at all, rather than engineering and applied mathematics. This is a cultural oddity, perpetuated more by some universities than by others.

            I found the data in the former set of documents detailing degrees awarded by field within engineering and by ethnicity somewhat opaque. If I get some more time I may investigate further.

          • Whamadoodle

            Thank you, I appreciate it. I agree that:
            1) Two to one is not four to one;
            2) The studies that apply if you work in tech are most often entirely different from traditional engineering or applied mathematics, except for just a few areas of intersection in the industry, so should be considered separately; and
            3), as joanw also pointed out, it’s necessary to have the comparator, i.e., to know how black, female and latino employment versus study compares to white, asian and male employment versus study, in order to gauge the panelists’ statements.

            What did you think of my other question, as to whether your own experience ranged over all the tech hubs of the US or not, and if not, whether that may affect your skepticism as to the existence of racism in hiring?

            My opinion is that, just as Japanese soldiers were told they were cowardly, but were among the most highly-decorated soldiers when a place was made for them in the US Army, and just as black pilots were told they could never fly a plane, but excelled in the Tuskeegee Airmen’s units when they were given a chance, so we will find that if we nurture black and latino participation in coding in our schools, we’ll get great black and latino coders. So my main claim is a speculative one, but I say it’s worth trying.

      • Ed

        You need more data to show that hiring is not based on merit. An applicant’s skill level, and prospects of getting hired at a competitive tech company like Google, depends highly on WHICH school he/she attended. An education at Stanford is not the same as at DeVry. Based on my experience, 8% looks like a very optimistic number.

        Also, people keep glossing over the fact that Asians (also “people of color”) are not underrepresented. It’s not the color of your skin that makes the difference, it’s your upbringing.

        • Whamadoodle

          What “glossing over”? It’s a fact; people acknowledge it; people acknowledge the reasons for it, which are that the same bias that assigns negative traits to one people unfairly also can assign positive traits to another. You’re denying there is a problem?

          • Ed

            I’m not denying that racial bias exists, or that any number of other types of bias exist, in various forms and degrees. What I am saying is that nobody should be surprised to see this kind of racial distribution in tech companies given that it is very similar to the racial distribution in the educational pipeline that feeds into them. It’s worth mentioning that some of these companies have some of the most objective and methodical hiring procedures around. Of course individual subconscious bias can affect this process, but I don’t know if there is data that shows how much of a contributing factor it is, positive or negative. I am of the opinion (and I don’t think this is controversial) that the best time to help historically disadvantaged minorities is when they are young. This is where, I think, most of the inequality is, and I think it’s rather ridiculous to go after companies like Google and Apple. If anything, this excessive criticism will only serve to discourage other companies from releasing their demographic information.

            Now, as many people have pointed out, age discrimination IS an issue that is overtly present in silicon valley (Mark Zuckerberg, for example, has been vocal and unashamed in his preference for young employees). To an extent, one could argue that younger candidates are more likely to be proficient in the more modern technologies/fads that companies are hiring for. But there are definitely social factors as well, particularly in smaller startups. But race is a favorite topic of many, so you can expect people to focus on that.

    • marte48

      Yes, they should be thankful that their families encouraged education. What about the kids who never learned to read, through no fault of their own?

    • Greg D

      Best summary of the issue i’ve read anywhere!

    • Nope, not noise – it’s reflective of everything you said and the disparity in education, yes. So therefore, IF American technology firms are to survive as demographics change rapidly, what are the companies doing to address social inquiries and secure their future pipeline of employees?

    • And P.S., these companies hire MANY people, for many different functional corporate roles, requiring degrees in academic fields other than computer science. Therefore, to use those statistics of who majors in that one field is to completely miss the point.

  • Rik Myslewski

    A bit of good news, but with a caveat: I have been attending international high-level computer-engineering conferences for over a quarter century. At first, there were no women to be found at them; in the past decade, however, their numbers have been growing steadily, and now comprise a substantial percentage of not only attendees, but also presenters of research papers. That’s the good news; the bad news for we white folks who want to see more US and European women joining technical engineering fields is that the vast, vast majority of female conference attendees are young East and South Asians.

    • Frequentshopper

      Please elaborate as to why that it is bad that they are East and South Asians? i.e. Are they hiring them over older US females who are more competent? Are they hiring straight Asian women over US lesbians who are more competent?

      • Rik Myslewski

        The bad news for those of us who would like to see more women in general in the computer-engineering field is that we’re not seeing US and European women attending high-level conferences in numbers equal to those of East and South Asian women, thus reducing the total number of women advancing in the field — and also, I might add, advancing the field itself. Microprocessor-architecture design and process engineering face a hell of a lot of daunting challenges these days — we need all the help we can get.

  • marte48

    Anyone who reads job descriptions in Silicon Valley will know that the “scarcity” is for engineers who can do the jobs of 2-3-4 engineers. They are never looking for the people they already have – they are always looking to replace people.

    • LaotianDave

      and is on an h1 so they can be paid 20% less

  • Ken

    Having been in tech (software) since the mid-1970’s, it seems that things were better for women in the 1970s in tech, at least in software. I think that there were also other better times for women. It would be interesting to include an historical perspective on this issue.

    • LaotianDave

      Tech was at one time a professional environment and then ruby came out and any 12 year old could create an app

  • Maureen Cadigan

    where should we go to hear the show on age bias, as mentioned on the show?

  • AyNorm

    I want more diversity in the NBA

  • Danny

    From my experience, the high tech companies I worked for were more happy to see qualified developer resumes of women, black, and Latinos. If they pass the same interview criteria as others and can do the work, even though they might not be very good in comparison, we always hire them. The main problem is that there are very few qualified resumes. If looking at historical composition of graduates from computer related STEM majors from quality colleges, it is easy to explain the composition of resume sources. Improvement in math-related education of K-12 and college are the main means to healthily improve diversity. Statistically, it is very difficult to change non-math adults to become productive in STEM fields. The main hope is in the kids.

    As with any social setting, there are always some companies that do not have good diversity practice. Exposure, advocacy and public education for diversity shall be the main means to promote diversity considering the current pool of expertise. But we must not allow socialism mandate to violate individual rights and merits using skin color, which will create blanket injustice and worse conflicts.

    Asians are truly COLOR minority in US, many have experienced hardship and injustice. Statistically, despite hardship, Asian strive to excel in math-related field, and contribute greatly to the math-heavy high-tech industry. There are wealth of knowledge to learn from such hard-working success in STEM. Many minorities can profoundly benefit from such learning of diversity and work ethics in STEM. One simple way is to learn from parents who go home at night, work with their kids on math and make sure they excel, and do not watch TV.

    Affirmative Action are to help minorities who are qualified in statistically large number in a field, but got discriminated. Asian are true minority and proved that disadvantaged COLOR minorities can succeed in STEM if they work hard in STEM and their merit are measured objectively. It is easier to have objective measurement in STEM field and shall practice it.

    • Whamadoodle

      The panelists cited statistics showing that minorities were around four times better represented in student bodies of tech study than they were in actually being hired. So even though there are fewer students of color, that alone doesn’t explain why so many fewer are being hired. They ARE statistically larger in number in study than they are as hirees, so it does seem that they are being discriminated against, I’m afraid.

      • Robert Thomas

        These statistics are extremely manipulable.

        A couple of years ago, The SJMN reported that Asian people by then made up slightly more than half of Silicon Valley’s tech workforce.

        On inspection, their statistics, sourced from “The Bay Area Newsgroup” arrived at this conclusion by defining “tech occupations” specifically as these:

        Computer Programmers
        Software Developers
        Systems Analysts
        Database Administrators
        Support Specialists

        “Asian workers now dominate Silicon Valley tech jobs”,
        By Dan Nakaso, November 30, 2012
        SJMN

        http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_22094415/asian-workers-now-dominate-silicon-valley-tech-jobs

        This ignores all electrical engineering, all elecrtical-optical industry, all process engineering and the design of all process engineering equipment (like Applied Materials), all computing machinery design and all communications machinery design (Cisco, Juniper, Brocade etc. etc.)…

        Journalists have a bizarre, skewed idea of what “technology” even is. Listening to journalists talk about my industry is like listening to clever elementary school kids talk about open heart surgery.

        • Danny

          Many Asian parents have witnessed how other families allow their children perform low in math in US schools. Most of us know that the typical school expectation on student math are simply not adequate. Math is the basic intelligence underlying all STEM. We don’t understand why some families do not work with their kids to improve to get at least B+. Even B+ is not enough to be competitive. Once lag behind in math, it is very hard to catch up, not like liberal arts. Many Asian parents did so much math that they were way better than US school A+ when at the same ages as their kids. We went on to enjoy learning more STEM such as physics, chemistry, biology, which are the magics in nature and the magics to innovate new things in IT.

          Once I went to after-school and observed my son and his friends. One boy loudly complained that the teacher gave too many hard problems. I was shocked, not by the boy, but by the in-action of his father besides his son. In our culture, we do not allow disrespect of teachers and text books, even though not all teachers fully deserve. Otherwise the complaining immature kid have no discipline and could ruin himself. My kids might not treat toys or things well, but they do not dare to treat text books with disrespect.

          There are more and more advocacy initiatives to encourage diverse student advancement in math and STEM. In the end, parents play the most critical role to ensure their children excel in math if they have reasonable potential in STEM. Enlarging the diverse, qualifying pool of STEM students is the most important and fair approach to ultimately increase work place diversity. Any adult age racial discrimination/mandate not by merit will cause severe social conflicts.

          • Robert Thomas

            Sadly, many coworkers of mine never bothered to catch up with their Liberal Arts studies, however easy it may have been to do.

            Learning math is good! Who could argue?

            On the other hand, I have worked with many Asian engineers who were bored with their profession, would rather be doing something else and weren’t particularly good at their jobs.

            I’ve had non-Asian coworkers with the same attitude.

            The BEST coworkers I’ve had, in a long career in engineering, are those who KNEW, from childhood, that they really wanted to find out how things work and how to make new things that work. I want to encourage more of these people into our profession, regardless of their phenotype or gender.

            No amount of good math or science education can make a good engineer out of a person with no passion for the task.

        • Whamadoodle

          But… journalists weren’t the ones who DID the study the panelists cited. It was the National Science Foundation. Nor were the panelists journalists.

          Also, bringing up some other study in the Mercury doesn’t prove a single thing about the completely different study that the panelists cited. Or am I missing something?

  • Frequentshopper

    I won’t call them diversity statistics cause Apple interestingly refuses to include age or LGBT numbers, but If Apple was to stop refusing to divulge statistics separately for the Applestores vs the statistics for their tech jobs in Silicon Valley we would undoubtedly see they are willing to hire people based on gender and race over merit where the customer interacts with the employee but not so where the quality of their products is concerned. Apple, please release the statistics that prove me wrong. Better yet, Attorney General Kamala Harris, do your job enforcing the laws of the State of California and investigate Apple’s discriminatory hiring practices. Maybe she doesn’t because she is a black woman and she knows those are not the groups Apple is illegally discriminating against. Ask her why!

  • Ken and others- Feel free to start that discussion and highlight data as these (and other advocates) have done for the diverse communities that have never had the opportunity to participate because hiring managers continue to hire people that are exactly like themselves. This is an issue that’s NEVER been addressed, so that’s why you’re seeing this now. Nobody is stopping you from organizing and acting.

  • Lesley Kim Grossblatt

    Danilo Campos’ characterization of why women drop out of startups was way off-base. He basically summed it up as, “women aren’t having fun anymore.” You’ve got to be kidding me. Women aren’t leaving because it’s not fun anymore (whatever that means); we’re leaving because we get tired of the politics of being passed over repeatedly for males. We’re leaving because we see there’s no where to go once you reach a certain level of seniority; the glass ceiling is quite real, especially for women who are in middle management. And yes, some of us are leaving to focus on family. But I have yet to hear any of my female colleagues — and I’ve been working in Silicon Valley companies/startups for 15 years — leave because they’re not “having fun.” I call BS.

    • LaotianDave

      Was the man that got your promotion completely unqualified?

    • Danny

      The composition of workforce as a whole and the composition of management are two very different matters. There are more serious problems in the composition of management mainly due to more subjective measurement for management promotion versus more objective technical measurement for rank-n-file engineers.

  • Lesley Kim Grossblatt

    Eric Abrams was right on that the diversity issue in Silicon Valley is more a matter of lack of diversity in thinking and experience. And it does affect your bottom line — if everyone in your startup are all 20-somethings who went to top tier universities and have never had a job outside of working in a startup, the set of experiences and views they can draw from to solve problems is limited. When you expand the set of experiences, backgrounds, views and disciplines that your startup team can pull from, you can come up with much more innovative, impactful solutions than if everyone on the team has never felt the pain of your actual customers.

    • LaotianDave

      Why would you care what your “customers” think when your “customer” is facebook which you intend to sell your nonsense to in 1 years after not making a dime?

  • Frequentshopper

    If you think doing one show about age discrimination in Silicon Valley us enough then I guess it follows my one time $200 donation this year to a KQED radio show is enough. I suggest you invite Attorney general Kamala Harris to come on your show to talk about it and have another show about it. Give her a month or two advance notice so when she declines you can say she had plenty of notice and then proceed to discuss why your guests think she is not doing her job.

    • LaotianDave

      You want fair housing and employment not Kamala Harris

  • Smith GangHe

    Jobs are assigned based on skill and ability regardless of the race. I am a minority Asian and I am very disappointed at so called “Civil Rights” leader who essentially wants to get unfair preference treatment for his own race. I never heard he said NBA should reduce the number of black players because they are over represented. They can be over but not under. This is another kind of discrimination against other races.
    Dr. King’s dream was not to look at people’s skin color and only look at their character. This so called “Civil Rights” leader asks companies not only to look at skin color, but also to set different employment standards based on skin color. This is totally against the initial intention of civil right movements. I am totally shocked by his true face.

  • Danny

    Excerpt from ca senator Huff:
    The United States economy has been enriched by the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants from around the world. Foreign nationals residing in the United States were named as inventors or co-inventors in one-quarter of all patent applications filed in 2006. Fifty-two percent of Silicon Valley startups between 1995 and 2005 were founded or cofounded by immigrants generating $52 billion in revenues and employing 450,000 workers.
    ——–
    my opinion: US simply did not produced enough Computer related students, and hard working Asian immigrants contributed greatly to the success of IT and assets in US, that dominate over the world and immigrants’ original countries in Asia.

  • Interesting!

  • Robert Rawlings Jr.

    Some people are smarter then others . Diversity should not be an issue.

  • Michael Woods

    Regarding HBCU, I found this STEM list on the web:

    http://www.thurgoodmarshallfund.net/stemresearch/stem-hbcu-programs

    There seem to be very few that offer engineering degrees. There is no way that my company would hire an engineer without a degree in the field.

    Because the civil (structural) engineering for which I work is hiring, I tried to find schools that offered civil engineering degrees (not “engineering technology”, whatever that is). I examined the list and visited the web pages of schools with engineering. I was disappointed to find that only one institution, Howard University, offered a civil engineering degree. But then I found an ABET list:

    http://hbculifestyle.com/abet-accredited-engineering/

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