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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Diversity is about more than checking boxes

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Snap announces hiring goals; diversity isn't just checking boxes; COVID-19 affects salary negotiations; and more.

  • The pressure on companies to diversify their workforces can result in box checking and hiring quotas solely based on minority status, but Laura Evans, an engineer apprentice at Amazon and a former sergeant in the US Army, writes in Fast Company that it's more complex than that. No one wants to be a token hire, and more importantly, tech companies need diversity in order for products and software to succeed – particularly when you consider that the diversity and inclusion technology tools market is worth about $100 million. "While these changes are important, they will take time and will require trailblazers – talented people of color who can step into these roles even if they're the only one in the room – to lead the way. But companies should not view these positions as simply checking a diversity box. Instead, they should be understood as crucial to businesses' survival," Laura writes. If we can switch the focus to how much more companies will make with a more diverse workforce, will that move along the ratio of non-white men at the helm? (See WiCipedia: Making diversity a priority in job searches.)

    It's time to redefine 'checking boxes'
    (Source: Pixabay)
    (Source: Pixabay)

  • Parent company of Snapchat, Snap, has announced that it's committed to increasing the percentage of women and minorities that it hires in a new diversity study, Reuters reports. While many of us didn't even realize that Snap still existed (oops), it does, and its minority hire numbers – like most tech companies – are abominable. Yet the social media company has goals to double the number of female employees in tech roles by 2023, raising it from just over 16% to 32%. The company also aims to level the playing field when it comes to racial minorities, with the goal of doubling the number of racial minorities (roughly 11% currently) by 2025. These are lofty hiring goals, but clearly the company needs to catch up to stay on the radar. (See WiCipedia: Fembots Create Gender Divide & Snap Tackles Culture Issues.)

  • No surprise here: The majority of those who are still employed during the COVID-19 pandemic are not comfortable negotiating their salaries. NextGov shared the survey results of 4,000 respondents at tech companies from the professional networking website Blind, and found that on average employees were 13% less likely to negotiate their salaries during the pandemic. (We assume this means in their current jobs and not in job offer salary negotiations, though the survey didn't specify.) Women were even less open to the difficult talks, with 10% fewer women than men piping up about their pay. Still, nearly half (47%) of men were willing to discuss salary, which was a surprise given the pay cut, salary freeze, layoff and furlough situation we've found ourselves in lately. But as we all know, tech workers at major companies are used to their perks, and they aren't about to let a pandemic spoil them. As Blind co-founder Kyum Kim said, "The pandemic has professionals feeling less inclined to negotiate their salaries. However, a pandemic does not change the value of your skill set that has earned you a desired compensation. Do your research and know your worth." (See WiCipedia: The ever-rising glass ceiling.)

  • The UK is seeing a surge of female telecom engineers, explains The Guardian. While this started before the pandemic hit, COVID-19 has increased the need for fast home Internet, which means more telecom workers are being sent out on jobs. Women have historically been a minority in these positions, and while the numbers are increasing, they're still incredibly low with women holding only 9% of engineering apprenticeships in the area last year. Yet perspectives and outlooks are shifting, if slowly. "I think it's getting better, but people still tend to think of engineering jobs as male," said Nicole Curran, an engineer with UK Connect. "I've no idea why, you don't have to be a man to hold a screwdriver. When I turn up or call ahead on a job, people are really surprised a woman's coming out to their site. A guy at a petrol station recently asked me to double check which pump I'd used because I was asking to pay for fuel at a pump next to a van with a ladder on top." (See WiCipedia: Hardwiring Sexism, Brogrammer Culture & Wall Street Fearmongering.)

    — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading. Follow us on Twitter @LR_WiC and contact Eryn directly at [email protected].

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