As we round out Black History Month, I’ve been exploring the industries where Black workers have seen increased representation and vice versa. While they’ve seen growth in travel and hospitality, other sectors have remained sluggish, particularly within industries that have most aggressively engaged in layoffs—namely, tech. For years, tech leaders have committed to diversifying their ranks. But as layoffs persist, the Black representation risks falling behind despite a projected increase in tech jobs.
The number of tech jobs in the U.S. is expected to grow 14% by 2032, according to a recent McKinsey report. But, the number of Black workers in tech is only expected to increase by 8%, with growth in the upper ranks moving even slower. Just 3% of C-suite tech executives today are Black, and the share of Black tech executives is projected to remain relatively small over the next decade. The reason: Underrepresented talent is still concentrated in orchestration and planning-type roles like project management and not in high-growth areas like data science, cybersecurity, and cloud engineering.
“Looking at your talent management processes, soup to nuts, is going to be important,” says Jan Shelly, report coauthor and partner at McKinsey. She says some tech companies have since eased off diversity recruiting targets and investing in conferences and early pipeline programs that can serve as sources for diverse talent pools. These initiatives tend to be the first cut in talent strategies because the return on investment isn’t immediate.
“The other piece that I see in terms of what has slowed down, but shouldn’t because it’s not a cost, is focus on the middle-level layer of talent,” says Shelly. Though many tech companies succeed in funneling new talent into early-level engineering roles, they pay less attention to nurturing and advancing talent once in the organization.
The solution, she says, lies in providing Black employees with better sponsorship and upskilling programs so they can receive placement in roles with high growth potential. About 83% of Black tech employees consider advancement opportunities among the three most important initiatives for advancing in the industry, according to McKinsey.
“[Leaders] should press even harder for this given the macroeconomic climate,” says Shelly.
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Speaking of the Black workforce, almost half of Black U.S. employees report being dissatisfied with their jobs and are considering leaving, writes Fortune’s Ellen McGirt.
“The top three reasons Black employees are looking to move are because of unfair compensation, lack of career advancement, and a lack of support by management…These are three basic factors a company can 100% control,” Charlotte Jones, Indeed’s senior manager of talent attraction, tells McGirt.
Around the Table
A round-up of the most important HR headlines, studies, podcasts, and long-reads.
- Life insurance juggernaut Globe Life has a hyper-masculine culture rife with drug use and sexual harassment, according to a lawsuit filed by former employees. Insider
- Tech, which lags behind other industries when it comes to women in leadership, just saw a raft of high-profile female executives depart. CNN
- So many Americans have been missing from the workforce since the pandemic's start that economists can’t agree on just how many. Bloomberg
- Last year saw the employment of 21.3% of people with disabilities, one of the highest rates on record. Axios
- How one defines a compassionate layoff is subjective and can vary significantly for each employee. BBC
Everything you need to know from Fortune.
Keeping diverse talent. Black executives cite three reasons for leaving the workforce: a lack of competitive wages, professional development, and DEI investments. —Rosanna Duruthy
Four-thought. One CEO says that despite the success of the recently concluded four-day workweek pilot, companies shouldn’t jump on the trend without adequate forethought. —Orianna Rosa Royle
TikTok goes viral. A laid-off TikTok employee went viral after posting a video of her last day. —Chris Morris
WALL-E’s pink slip. Alphabet’s recent round of cost-cutting includes shutting down 100 robots that cleaned the company’s cafeteria. —Chris Morris
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