The Leaky Tech Pipeline: A Comprehensive Framework for Understanding and Addressing the Lack of Diversity Across the Tech Ecosystem

The Leaky Tech Pipeline: A Comprehensive Framework for Understanding and Addressing the Lack of Diversity Across the Tech Ecosystem

The persistent lack of ethnic/racial and gender diversity in the tech industry is the result of structural and social/psychological barriers at every stage of the talent development pipeline, a report from the Kapor Center for Social Impact finds. The report, The Leaky Tech Pipeline: A Comprehensive Framework for Understanding and Addressing the Lack of Diversity Across the Tech Ecosystem (34 pages, PDF), found that African-American, Latino/a, and Native American students disproportionately lack access to high-quality computer science courses and make up just 16 percent of AP computer science enrollees. The lack of college prep and issues of affordability, combined with negative stereotypes and the absence of role models, discourage many of these students as well as women, who account for only 21 percent and 18 percent, respectively, of the bachelor's degrees earned in computer science. At the same time, even those with CS degrees face recruiting and hiring biases, while hostile workplace cultures, harassment, and inequities in pay and promotion policies lead to low job satisfaction levels and high turnover. Without access to social networks or adequate social and financial capital, members of minority groups and women also encounter significant obstacles in launching start-up ventures, securing venture capital investment, or becoming tech investors. To address these issues, the report calls for a redoubling of efforts aimed at creating greater equity in K-12 education, an expansion of computer science education for diverse student populations, the strengthening of career pathways in tech, a greater focus on comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategies, and more public-private partnerships focused on diverse workforce development.