Technology

Raise the Bar on How We Talk about Diversity

Google software engineer and Google In Residence Sabrina Williams talks with students during a Google Student Development class on Impostor Syndrome at Howard University in Washington, Tuesday, April 14, 2015.  In ongoing efforts to diversify Silicon Valley's tech sector, Google is embedding engineers at a handful of Historically Black Colleges and Universities where they teach, mentor and advise on curriculum. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
Google software engineer and Google In Residence Sabrina Williams talks with students during a Google Student Development class on Impostor Syndrome at Howard University in Washington, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

Jon Swartz, USA TODAY

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO (USA Today) — We need to raise the bar on how we talk about diversity in tech.

A good place to start: Tech executives should refrain from insisting at every possible opportunity that they are not “lowering the bar” to hire women and underrepresented minorities.

“We have the same talent bar for everyone,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a company town hall meeting in May. “But we want to find a disproportionate number of candidates who are women and minorities.”

Zuckerberg had the best of intentions with his remarks but, really, that should go without saying. Everyone knows Facebook hires only top talent.

Joelle Emerson is co-founder and CEO of Paradigm, a strategy firm that helps tech companies build more diverse, inclusive organizations.

She says she gets this question from tech companies a lot: “Does hiring more diverse people mean lowering the bar?”

This anxiety over “lowering the bar” is false and ungrounded. It stems from a belief that companies have not hired more women and minorities because those candidates don’t meet the high bar set by these companies.

 

 

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