Top universities turn out twice as many black and Latino computer science and computer engineering graduates than the rate at which leading tech companies hire them, according to a USA Today analysis.
The companies say the pool of job applicants is to blame for the severe shortage of blacks and Latinos in Silicon Valley.
But these findings show that claim “does not hold water,” said Darrick Hamilton, professor of economics and urban policy at The New School in New York.
“What do dominant groups say? ‘We tried, we searched but there was nobody qualified.’ If you look at the empirical evidence, that is just not the case,” he said.
As technology becomes a major engine of economic growth in the U.S. economy, tech companies are under growing pressure to diversify their workforces, which are predominantly white, Asian and male. Leaving African Americans and Hispanics out of that growth increases the divide between haves and have-nots. And the technology industry risks losing touch with the diverse nation — and world — that forms its customer base.
On average, just 2 percent of tech workers at seven Silicon Valley companies are black. 3 percent are Latino.
Last year, 4.5 percent of all new recipients of bachelor’s degrees in the fields of computer engineering or computer science from top tier universities were black, and 6.5 percent were Latino.
USA Today’s analysis was based on the association’s annual Taulbee Survey. The survey includes 179 U.S. and Canadian universities that offer doctorates in computer science and computer engineering.
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