Why Tech Leadership May Have a Bigger Race Than Gender Problem

October 23, 2017 at 7:00 am 1 comment

The Wired article linked below suggests that race is an even bigger issue than gender in Tech industry leadership.  While Asians are over-represented in the Tech labor force, they are under-represented in Tech leadership, even more than women.  I was somewhat surprised that this article considers “Asians” so generally.  The most-often visited blog post I’ve written is the one that shows the differential success rates of different Asian populations in US educational attainment (see post here).

Gee says this study came about because an earlier report in 2015 that used EEOC data from companies like Google and LinkedIn ended up on the desk of Jenny Yang, the outgoing commissioner of the EEOC. Yang asked if the lower proportion of Asian executives was the result of discrimination and might be applicable for lawsuits, Gee says. He told her no. “We have never seen any overt discrimination or policies that create these disparities,” Gee explains. Rather, after conversations with 60 or 70 Asian executives, the authors say they noticed a pattern of cultural traits among some Asians that did not align with leadership expectations in Western corporate culture, such as risk-taking and being confrontational.

Gee gave the example of an executive who started the first Asian affinity group at Intel decades ago. He noticed that Chinese engineers were unhappy and not succeeding in Intel’s culture of “constructive conflict,” which involved heated debates during meetings.

“Some people call it unconscious bias. For Asians, it’s actually a very conscious bias,” says Gee. Studies show that assumptions that Asians are good at math, science, and technology make it easier for them to get in the door, but the same bias is reversed when it comes to leadership roles, he says.

Source: Why Tech Leadership May Have a Bigger Race Than Gender Problem | WIRED

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Bonnie  |  October 23, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    And of course there is the well known difficulty that black and Hispanic kids have in even getting a toehold in the tech industry. I teach at a school where almost half of the CS majors are black or Hispanic, and I see the problems they have with getting good internships or first offers. Even the best of them have a harder time than the white kids. It is so bad I have started calling it “Interviewing While Black”

    Racial bias is prevalent in the tech industry at every level.

    Reply

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