An idea to fix tech’s diversity problem

What if we were more friendly towards religion?

The tech industry doesn’t have a whiteness problem. (Asians are extremely overrepresented in the FAANG* companies across the board.) But the tech industry does have a problem when it comes to Black and Hispanic people. This is confirmed again and again in diversity studies but it’s anecdotally blatant when visiting Silicon Valley. On a recent trip I made to Redwood City, observing the sea of humanity all dressed in North Face and Patagonia puffer jackets, it was impossible to miss the complete lack of Black and Mexican people present (unless you counted those manning the food counters). This has not escaped media attention but so far little progress has been made.

Here’s a question that nobody’s asking: Is tech’s marginalization of religion contributing to their diversity problem?

Let’s look at this another way: Tech’s dismissive attitude towards religion seems to be a product of their white and asian dominated workforce.

Look at these results from a recent pew study:

The two racial groups who responded in the majority that religion was very important in their life were Black and Hispanic. (Black people a whopping 75%!) The two racial groups with the lowest response: Whites and Asians.

Is it then surprising that tech marginalizes religious concerns when their workforce isn’t very religious? Not at all. But if tech wants to attract a more diverse workforce, specifically with Black and Hispanic people, maybe they should change their attitude towards religious people.

This shouldn’t be hard:

  • Make sure that the Diversity and Inclusion reports track religion as a category.

  • Give religious leaders a seat at the table when deciding company codes of conduct.

  • Promote affinity groups for different religious faiths. (To be fair Google seems to be doing this.)

Or we could keep wringing our hands and wondering why Black and Hispanic people don’t feel welcome in our workplaces.

Just an idea.

* FAANG: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google.