Blacks, Latinos and women lose ground at Silicon Valley tech companies
By Mike Swiftmswift@mercurynews.comPosted:Â 02/13/2010 04:00:00 PM PSTUpdated:Â 05/27/2010 04:42:07 PM PDT The unique diversity of Silicon Valley is not reflected in the region's tech workplaces - and the disparity is only growing worse.
Hispanics and blacks made up a smaller share of the valley's computer workers in 2008 than they did in 2000, a Mercury News review of federal data shows, even as their share grew across the nation.The rest of the article shows that these statements are also true for whites as well, but who cares about them?
Women in computer-related occupations saw declines around the country, but they are an even smaller proportion of the work force here. The trend is striking in a region where Hispanics are nearly one-quarter of the working-age population - five times their percentage of the computer work force - and when dual-career couples and female MBAs are increasingly the norm.
It is also evident in the work forces of the region's major companies. An analysis by the Mercury News of the combined work force of 10 of the valley's largest companies - including Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Cisco Systems, eBay and AMD - shows that while the collective work force of those 10 companies grew by 16 percent between 1999 and 2005, an already small population of black workers dropped by 16 percent, while the number of Hispanic workers declined by 11 percent. By 2005, only about 2,200 of the 30,000 Silicon Valley-based workers at those 10 companies were black or Hispanic.
The share of women at those 10 companies declined to 33 percent in 2005, from 37 percent in 1999. There was also a decline in the share of management-level jobs held by women.
... With the number of white computer workers also dropping after 2000, Asians were the exception. They now make up a majority of workers in computer-related occupations who live in Silicon Valley, although they hold only about one in six of the nation's computer-related jobs.
Among the findings:This isn't broken out in the article, but looking at the accompanying graph, you can see that the white share of employment in Silicon Valley shrank from 47.1% in 2000 to 37.6% in 2006-2008. But, that's not news.
Of the 5,907 top managers and officials in the Silicon Valley offices of the 10 large companies in 2005, 296 were black or Hispanic, a 20 percent decline from 2000, according to U.S. Department of Labor work-force data obtained by the Mercury News through a Freedom of Information request. In 2008, the share of computer workers living in Silicon Valley who are black or Latino was 1.5 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively - shares that had declined since 2000. Nationally, blacks and Latinos were 7.1 percent and 5.3 percent of computer workers, respectively, shares that were up since 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The share of managers and top officials who are female at those 10 big Silicon Valley firms slipped to 26 percent in 2005, from 28 percent in 2000.
... The Mercury News originally sought federal employment data for the valley's 15 largest companies through the Freedom of Information Act in early 2008. Following an appeals process that stretched over nearly two years, five of those companies - Google, Apple, Yahoo, Oracle and Applied Materials - convinced federal officials to block public disclosure. Data from 2005 was the most current available when the Mercury News made the request. ...
In Silicon Valley companies, men and women in technical careers are equally likely to hold mid-level jobs, but men are 2.7 times more likely than women to be promoted to a high-ranking tech jobs such as vice president of engineering, or senior engineering manager, Simard and Henderson found in a 2009 study.The horror, the horror that some employees somewhere in America are still making enough money to support a family on one income. Better double those H-1B visa quotas right away to put an end to that.
The researchers found a series of clues from the water cooler to the living room. Men are more likely to develop informal professional networks, like taking coffee breaks with colleagues - networks that often lead to career opportunities.
The valley's married male tech employees are more likely to follow the traditional model of having a man working full time, with a woman who stays home with the kids, than are male professionals nationally, perhaps because of the high salaries paid in tech. By contrast, tech women are overwhelmingly in dual-career couples, and many face an either-or choice - parenthood or career advancement.
"We expected a difference," Simard told the glum-looking students at Stanford, "but this is kind of like the 1950s." ...
At a time when eBay was headed by one of the few high-profile female CEOs in Silicon Valley, Meg Whitman, the share of the company's managers and top officials who were female declined to 30 percent in 2005, from 36 percent five years earlier, according to federal employment data.
Some critics blame the government for allowing powerful Silicon Valley companies to rely so heavily on foreign-born workers on H-1B visas, which they contend has boosted the numbers of Asians in the tech workforce at the expense of other groups.
"The reason Silicon Valley is different is that those standards have traditionally been enforced in other industries," said John Templeton, whose "Silicon Ceiling" report details the lack of blacks and Latinos in Silicon Valley. "If you go to a bank IT department, or a cable television IT department, it reflects the community around it. But somewhere, government dropped the ball."