October 30, 2023

Illuminating Continued Disparities in Tech: The Reboot Representation’s “System Upgrade” Report

The “System Upgrade” report, published by Reboot Representation and McKinsey & Company, in partnership with Pivotal Ventures, discusses the lack of diversity in the tech industry and emphasizes the need to increase the number of Black, Latina, and Native American (BLNA) women in computing through investment. The report highlights the success and growth of the Reboot Representation Tech Coalition, which has expanded to 21 members and six partners focused on doubling the number of BLNA women graduating with computing degrees. However, the report also brings attention to the decrease in women’s representation in technical roles in the workforce. CMD-IT shares the report’s goals of increasing participation and success for underrepresented groups in the tech industry while emphasizing the significant role that diversity and inclusion play in driving innovation and supporting broader social and economic growth.

Key Findings Through Disaggregated Data

In pursuing a workplace that better supports BLNA women, and, consequently, all employees, the “System Upgrade” report suggests key steps the organization should take, beginning with data analysis and the hiring process. First, it advocates leveraging disaggregated data, breaking it down simultaneously by race or ethnicity, gender, and role (e.g., technical versus non-technical) to establish a factual foundation. This approach enables the identification of root causes and areas for improvement, while also measuring progress in various aspects such as policy uptake, satisfaction, promotions, and overall outcomes. Secondly, the report emphasizes the importance of reviewing these analyses quarterly with senior leaders to strategically plan actionable steps. By adopting these measures, organizations can not only enhance their inclusivity but also foster a workplace where all individuals, particularly BLNA women, can thrive.

Tips for Delivering Results

To drive meaningful change and create an equitable workplace, the report underscores the importance of implementing key policies and practices, from hiring to workplace flexibility and career growth. Democratizing access to information promotes transparency and impacts inclusivity. Additionally, several core pillars align with the core work of CMD-IT, namely” assigning mentors to support candidates, offering professional development programs, and providing actionable next steps for development after a performance review. The report also emphasizes increasing flexibility and demystifying career development, reinforcing a commitment to fostering an inclusive and thriving workplace.

The Importance of Iteration

In the pursuit of fostering an inclusive environment for BLNA women in technical roles, the imperative is to continuously enhance policies and practices. This involves a deliberate design incorporating quantitative and qualitative data to understand unique perspectives and challenges faced by different groups of BLNA women. Providing multiple relevant options and ensuring their accessibility is crucial, accompanied by clear and frequent communication. Cultivating a culture that promotes adopting these policies and practices is essential. To measure the impact effectively, a continuous feedback loop is advocated, allowing for necessary adjustments to be made in real time, thus reflecting a commitment to ongoing improvement.

Reboot Representation’s “System Upgrade” Report sheds light on the gender disparities, especially BLNA women, in the tech industry, emphasizing the need for concerted efforts to achieve equitable representation. To stay informed and participate in this work, visit the Reboot Representation website for comprehensive insights. Additionally, sign up for CMD-IT’s newsletter to receive updates and join the collective push towards a more diverse and inclusive tech landscape.