Where are all the Black and Latinx tech workers?

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Tech in Massachusetts lacks diversity in terms of race, ethnicity and gender, and, as a community of tech employers, we need to be more intentional about attracting, hiring, developing and advancing Black, Latinx, and Indigenous workers into technical careers in all sectors and all leadership levels.

As tech leaders, we have been talking for years about the value of a more diverse and inclusive workforce – greater employee attraction and retention, better representing and connecting with customers, better decision-making and financial performance, etc. – yet the participation of Black and Latinx tech workers has seen only modest improvement over time.

MassTLC began benchmarking and reporting on race, ethnicity and gender diversity in tech back in 2015. Since then, we have worked with tech companies, community groups and the public sector to help build a more diverse tech ecosystem.

In 2018, we created a board-level Executive Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee (EDISC), changed our mission to explicitly institutionalize the “development of an inclusive tech ecosystem in Massachusetts” as core to our purpose, and set out to increase the diversity of our board of trustees, in terms of race, ethnicity and gender, to greater than 50%, which we achieved by 2020.

There is certainly more work to be done and we are by no means unique in working to address this issue. In fact, there is such a diversity of community groups doing amazing work in this area that we created a resource called MassTalent to help tech companies navigate the landscape and connect with organizations providing training and placement services to help bring greater diversity into their organizations.

We recognize that Boston and the tech industry have more to do to support and encourage the inclusion of Black, Latinx and Indigenous people and we accept our responsibility to do more to make change at the company and community level.

In order to put greater focus and intentionality around this issue, MassTLC is putting forth a “2030 Challenge” to double the percentage of Black and Latinx workers in tech jobs in Massachusetts by 2030. This Challenge builds on our 2020 Challenge to create 100K net new jobs in tech over the past decade.

The 2030 Challenge is a call to action for the entire community – lawmakers, educators, community groups, etc. – to help achieve this important goal. MassTLC will benchmark progress every year or so against the 2030 Challenge goals, and we will work with lawmakers, educators, community leaders and others to support the initiative, on the talent pipeline/supply-side of the equation.

MassTLC will also focus efforts on the demand-side by working with tech employers to help them increase efforts around attracting, hiring, developing and advancing Black and Latinx talent in tech occupations. The Tech Compact for Social Justice is the cornerstone of our demand-side work as we seek meaningful change in support of our Challenge goals.

We kicked off the Tech Compact on August 3rd, 2020 with 60+ leading tech companies making over 180 commitments in their organizations to affect change. We invite every company that employs tech workers in Massachusetts to join the Tech Compact and make commitments to change as well. We will work in the months and years ahead to drive an agenda within tech and across the community to achieve greater diversity, inclusion and social justice in Massachusetts – and to let the world know that tech in Boston is becoming a place of opportunity, and that Massachusetts Welcomes You regardless of the color of your skin, your gender, sexual orientation, or where you are from.

MassTLC’s social justice initiatives are underwritten by:

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More about MassTLC’s work to champion diversity in tech:

Boston Globe (8/3/20) – Mass. tech firms say they’ll redouble efforts to hire Black and Latino workers

BBJ (7/24/20) – ‘We can do more:’ Tech leaders discuss Mass. ‘brain drain’

BBJ (1/31/20) – Reports find Mass. tech sector remains overwhelmingly white and male

Boston Globe (2/15/19) – Mass. tech council makes a diversity push for boardrooms

WBUR (11/17/17) – Tech Is Booming In Mass., But Diversity And Hiring Remain A Challenge

Boston Globe (11/13/17) – Report says diversity in tech will take generations

MassTLC (2016) – MassTLC Launches Mosaic Award with Black Tech Boston MeetUp Group

Boston Globe (5/17/16) – Few women are benefiting from surge in tech jobs

Boston Globe (3/13/15) – Mass. tech sector flourishing with challenges ahead