There are plenty of people working on a way to increase the diversity of the tech community. From coding scholarships for minorities and increased computer science education in underprivileged schools to angel investors vowing to only back startups with female founders, there are a variety of ways to attack the issue. A group in Portland is getting companies to sign a pledge to create a more diverse workforce.
Techtown, a tech-focused set of startups and organizations in Portland, is calling on the tech community to take a pledge to be more diverse. The pledge includes five steps to reaching greater diversity, including partnering with programs that support underrepresented populations in tech and educating employees on better workplace practices.
The first step is to reach out to group outside the tech community that can help foster diversity. From there, companies need to focus on hiring from the pool of qualified women and people of color for positions across the company, while supporting the growth of that pool through education and training.
Next, companies can train staff to recognize unconscious bias that might alter hiring decisions or product choices. This should help with the fourth step, which asks companies to provide internal progression programs for all employees, ensuring access to those who are often underrepresented.
The last step is transparency. It’s part of the latest trend in increasing tech’s diversity; letting the public know that your company isn’t as diverse as you’d like it to be can help stimulate more discussion about how to improve the situation.
Google has outlined its programs to bring minorities and women into the company. The Wall Street Journal has used various companies’ diversity reports to build a great interactive graphic showcasing the gap bias across the tech sector.
The Techtown pledge has already been signed by more than 15 companies, including Puppet Labs, Simple, Elemental Technologies and Cloudability. Other Portland companies can sign the pledge at the Techtown page.