New York is considered the third most diverse city in the country, where almost 40 percent of the population is foreign-born. But when it comes to its thriving tech sector, the diversity of the workforce is sorely lacking. A recent analysis by the Center for an Urban Future reveals that 62 percent of tech sector employees are white, while only 9 percent are black.
Adam Forman, a senior researcher at the Center, authored the analysis using the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s new definition of tech industries, which includes Computer Manufacturing, Electronic Shopping, Software Publishing, Data Processing & Hosting, Internet Publishing & Broadcasting & Web Search Portals, Computer Systems Design and Scientific R&D Services.
According to Forman, the city’s tech sector (which doesn’t include the copious amount of network administrators, programmers and software engineers, et al, working for non-technology companies) employed approximately 118,000 people in 2014, a 70 percent increase from a decade earlier.
But despite that increase, and the fact that the tech sector is the city’s fastest growing industry, there is a wide disparity in opportunity along racial lines. According to 2010 Census Data, the city has a population of 8,175,133—and blacks and Latinos constitute 25.1 percent and 27.5 percent of the population, respectively, but only 9 percent and 11 percent, respectively, are employed in the tech sector.
We asked Forman what are some of the reasons for the disparities in opportunity and what are some steps both the city and the industry might take to address them
Question 1: What is the racial breakdown of the city’s tech sector?
Question 2: Why are white males so dominant in this particular industry?
Question 3: What can the city do to create a more diverse tech sector?
Question 4: Is this reflective of larger failings in our school system?
Question 5: Do Tech Companies Have a Responsibility to Step Up?