Tech Employers Step Up Hispanic Hiring

Emerging Occupation News, August 13, 2013 

Laura Weidman Powers,  executive director and co-founder of CODE2040, has a vision: She wants her organization, founded in 2012 and based in the Bay Area,  to encourage “Blacks and Latinos to enter the tech workforce at a greater rate, and to stay and succeed there as engineers, technologists, thought leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs.”  Edward Avila, CEO and co-founder of the Manos Accelerator in Silicon Valley, has a vision as well: He wants his new organization to ease the way for the next generation of Latino-led tech start-ups.  And NewMe Accelerator, intended to “educate, accelerate and empower”  minority and women tech entrepreneurs,  is going to be running 3-day “PopUp” events in Miami, NYC, and Kansas City over the next few months.

But even as Powers, Avila, and others tackle the tough job of opening doors for minority entrepreneurs, tech employers seem to finally be getting the idea, and becoming more welcoming to jobseekers from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Emerging Occupation News has crunched the government data, and uncovered these positive signs:

  • The number of Hispanics/Latinos employed in computer and mathematical occupations has risen 26% over the past two years, compared to a 10% overall gain in tech employment.
  • The number of blacks employed in computer and mathematical occupations has risen by 24% over the past two years
  • The number of Asians employed in computer and mathematical occupations has risen by 19% over the past two years.
  • The number of women employed in computer and mathematical occupations has risen by 14% over the past two years

These positive signs of diversity show up clearly in the chart below.

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 9.20.40 AM

For the rest of this post, I’m going to focus on Hispanics/Latinos, who have been noticeably under-represented in the tech fields (in future posts I will look at blacks, Asians, and women).  The Hispanic share of computer and mathematical occupations in the U.S. basically stagnated for a decade.

In the last year, however, there’s been a sharp increase in the Hispanic share of the tech fields, as shown by the following chart.   Does this reflect a change in supply or demand? Probably both

Hispanic tech

Data from the Department of Education allows us to look at the number of Hispanic computer science graduates. From the 2007-2008 academic year to the 2010-2011 academic year, the number of computer and information science bachelor degrees going to Hispanics rose by 23%, double the overall rate of increase.

That’s good news. The schools are producing more Hispanic computer science grads, and they are finding jobs. There’s still a lot more to do on diversity, but in the tech field, things seem to be getting better rather than worse.