The Ever More Diversified Face of IT

By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 01-11-2007
Just how diverse is IT in the United States today? It depends on who you ask.

Some will say, "More than ever," and tell you about companies that are itching for a mixed breed of recruits, that will brag about their minority representation and that consider it a great bonus to have dozens of cultures and languages represented within a single organization.

But others will say, sure, there is diversification, but only involving workers from very specific parts of the world. Where are the women and Hispanics, and why do certain areas of every company still only represent single groups of the population?

According to the ITAA (Information Technology Association of America), Asian-Americans made up only 11.8 percent of the work force in 2002, African-Americans represented only 8.2 percent of the IT work force, Hispanic-Americans represented only 6.3 percent and Native Americans 0.6 percent.

Yet, all analysts seem to agree that the job outlook for minorities in IT is strong, that IT is more diverse than ever and that in many cases, it is minorities who are helping to fill a talent gap between the numbers of older members of the work force poised to retire and the shortage of younger recruits to fill their shoes. Without a doubt it's an imperfect picture, but in a state of constant improvement.

Strengthened supply

The trend toward IT professionals becoming a diverse group began over a decade ago.

"IT has been very diverse for some time. You started to see the work force diversify greatly in the late 1990s, and while there are entities that have more diversity than others, people's focus these days is on the technical competence of an individual," said Sean Ebner, vice president of Professional Services with a specialization in technology for Spherion Pacific Enterprises, a staffing and recruiting firm based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Read the full story on eWeek: The Ever More Diversified Face of IT