How inclusive is NSA in terms of diversity? Recently, two employees answered that question and more. Let’s go straight to the source.
Prior to joining the National Security Agency (NSA) as a recruiter, Michelle E., pictured life at the agency like many of us do.
“Whenever thinking about NSA, I always thought of men in black suits working on secret projects,” she says. “Once I arrived, I realized the agency was a very welcoming and exciting place filled with lots of career opportunities for people with diverse backgrounds.”
Growing up in Virginia, Michelle loved sports and student government and was a member of the JROTC. As an adult, she’s had private sector experience as a market research analyst, trainer, and human resources professional.
Eventually, she decided she needed more than what the private sector could offer and decided to apply for a position at NSA.
“I was seeking career advancement and an opportunity to give back to my country,” Michele says. “I was also intrigued by NSA’s mission and drive to better the world at large.”
Now Michelle’s been at the agency for nearly two years. Every six months she receives new responsibilities that allow her to utilize her previous experiences to contribute to NSA’s ongoing mission…
Many people told Lareesha H. that she would never work for the National Security Agency (NSA) due to its perceived lack of diversity.
They were wrong.
“Through hard-work, late nights and additional schooling. I made sure I possessed the necessary skills to obtain a position at NSA,” she says. “In 2009, my dream came true – not only working at NSA but also in the exact job I wanted.”
Now an 11-year veteran of the agency, she recently reflected on her journey to NSA and the agency’s success in fostering a supportive and diverse work environment.
She said it all started with a motto she tries to live by: “If fear is the only thing that is holding you back, then you have a good chance at meeting your goal, because FEAR you can overcome with trying.”
Lareesha grew up a ‘military brat’ oversees before her family settled in Maryland in 1994. She was a typical kid who loved running track, writing poetry and shopping.
She attended Morgan State University and became a lifelong member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, a not-for-profit organization that provides assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world.
[su_quote]Delta Sigma Theta Sorority taught me that the sky is the limit, it is ok to step out of your comfort zone, and the reward you get from helping others is unmeasurable. I strive to be a strong, effective leader who provides emotional support, career guidance, networking opportunities and resource assistance to my coworkers. When I see someone overcome a problem at work or receive a promotion based off my assistance; it brings great joy to my heart and it is why I do what I do.
After graduating, her early professional life included working as a contractor for the Office of Personnel Management. In that role, Lareesha learned about different federal agencies and what they do. One of those agencies was NSA, and she was inspired to join an organization dedicated to protecting national security…
White males make up the largest sector of the U.S. workforce and have, on average, always made the highest salaries. If we compare their salaries to those of women, ethnic minorities, the differently-abled, and LGBTQ+ persons, we see a large disparity between the wages of similarly-qualified candidates in the same fields.
The gap is glaring, and unfortunately, eliminating it isn’t as simple as raising salaries for other employees. It requires attention to differences in education, experience, and seniority, even though we know such factors are affected by the same biases that determine salary.
To complicate matters, agreeing on how to measure the wage gap with so many variables is murky at best. For example, a Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full and part-time workers in the United States found that women earned 85% of what men earned – a 15% wage gap. By comparison, the Census Bureau in 2017 found that full-time, year-round working women made just 80% of their male counterparts – a 20% wage gap. The AAUW’s 2019 updated wage report found a 35% difference between the salaries of the average woman ($45,097) and man ($55,291) in America. PayScale’s 2020 survey women make only $0.81 for every dollar a man makes.
Our cultural expectations of women as caregivers throw another wrench into the calculations, especially in light of the COVID pandemic. While a 2018 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) showed that women faced an actual wage gap of 51% between 2001-2015, those who took just one year off from work had annual earnings 39% lower than those of women who remained in the workforce. Their updated 2020 study “Build(ing) the Future: Bold Policies for a Gender-Equitable Recovery” revealed that women have also experienced a disproportionate number of job losses since the start of the pandemic. From February to May 2020, 11.5 million women lost their jobs, compared with 9 million men.
But it’s also important to note that 4 times as many women aren’t currently looking for work compared to men. In the words of the IWPR, we are experiencing a “shecession” that has seen 865,000 women drop out of the labor market altogether between August and September 2020. That’s because family care responsibilities fall predominantly to women. Homeschooling as well as child and elder care are making it impossible for women to reenter the workforce at the same rate.
60% of men are offered 3-4% more for the same role as women at the same company, which is technically illegal in the U.S.
41% of the time, companies interview only men for an open position.
61% of the time, women are asking for lower salaries than men (this was true in all fields).
Data from AAUW’s 2019 report suggests even more gender wage disparity when we break the statistics down by race. On average, for every dollar made by white men…[su_pullquote align=”right”]…it’s also important to note that 4 times as many women aren’t currently looking for work compared to men. In the words of the IWPR, we are experiencing a “shecession” that has seen 865,000 women drop out of the labor market altogether between August and September 2020.[/su_pullquote]
Black women made 62 cents
Hispanic women made 54 cents
Asian women made 89 cents
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander women made 61 cents
American Indian or Alaska Native women made 57 cents
These numbers show general trends but differ year-to-year by survey, industry, location, and education levels. A lack of reporting from some groups and career sectors also hinders precise measurements. Nevertheless, dozens of studies and surveys have corroborated evidence of a gap between white men and other groups in all fields of employment.
The power of transparency
One of the biggest problems in assessing the wage gap is getting accurate salary data. Studies have shown that most employees are uncomfortable sharing salary information, and even go to great lengths to conceal their pay from coworkers. At times, Employers actively discourage sharing salary information.
But there’s a small group of people leading the charge to be more transparent. Employees from many sectors have made efforts to share wage data online so it can be accessed and assessed. These websites and spreadsheets often don’t ask for names, but rather positions, education, experience, location, salaries, and other benefits. Of course, the problem, even for well-known salary comparison sites like Glassdoor, is that the information is crowd-sourced and unverified. But while there’s always the possibility for dishonesty, it’s given many employees a good reference point for negotiations.
It has been illegal for companies to pay women less for the same job as men for over half a century in America. Nevertheless, it happens all the time – sometimes without companies even realizing it because they don’t keep those sorts of statistics. But with the now constant calls for equal pay and increased diversity, employers can no longer afford not to identify and improve salary inequalities.
[su_pullquote align=”right”]The vast majority of non-white workers are paid less than their white counterparts. And the disparity is always the largest for minority women. [/su_pullquote]Plain, old-fashioned bias is likely the main reason that women are paid less than men, even for the same job. We tend to devalue what we consider to be “women’s work”, resulting in occupational segregation, where even skilled jobs typically held by women tend to come with lower wages. And because women have internalized a lower “worth” in terms of salary, they commonly ask for less than men when negotiating their compensation packages. Without knowing what colleagues make, most women are flying blind when it comes to salary negotiations.
Women are also disadvantaged in the workplace because domestic duties – from bearing and raising children to eldercare – often fall to them, necessitating time off from work. This is also why women tend to be overrepresented in part-time work, which is often paid hourly and at a lower rate than full-time work.
It’s crucial to remember that wage inequality isn’t just an issue for the underpaid, however. It affects the entire economy and, therefore, all of us. Women are the sole or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of American households, so their wages affect the well-being and need for social services of other dependants.
On average, here is how much women of different ethnicities earn for every dollar earned by white men:
*source: AAUW’s 2019 report, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap
Data from Pew Research in 2016 showed that white and Asian women have narrowed the wage gap with white men to a much greater degree than black and Hispanic women (though this is a hard population to get a handle on because of its diversity). White women narrowed the wage gap in median hourly earnings by 22 cents from 1980 to 2015; black women by 9 cents; Hispanic women by just 5 cents. Asian-American and Pacific Islander women narrowed the gap by 27 cents.
[su_pullquote align=”right”]While it’s easy to suggest that education is the reason for this disparity, the evidence does not support such a theory. College-educated black and Hispanic men (as well as white and Asian college-educated women) still earn roughly 80% of what their white college-educated colleagues earn.[/su_pullquote]Pew’s research showed that black and Hispanic men made almost no progress in narrowing the wage gap with white men since 1980. As of 2015, black men still earned just 73% of white men’s hourly earnings, while Hispanic men earned 69% (down from 71% in 1980).
While it’s easy to suggest that education is the reason for this disparity, the evidence does not support such a theory. College-educated black and Hispanic men (as well as white and Asian college-educated women) still earn roughly 80% of what their white college-educated colleagues earn. Black and Hispanic women earn less than 70% of what similarly educated white men are paid.
In fact, a 2020 update from the AAUW found that Black women with a high school degree earned 65.99% of what similarly educated white men earned. But when they completed a bachelor’s degree, their earnings actually dropped to 65.14% of what white men made. The same was true for Latinas, whose earnings went from 66.78% to 62.73% after graduating with a bachelor’s. Native American women’s numbers went from 66.7% to 59.2% after getting a higher degree.
Even when we control for education – since the number of black and Hispanic college-educated workers is lower – they still make less money than whites.
[su_pullquote align=”left”]…this wage gap has some serious consequences for the American economy. They estimate that if workers with disabilities received the same pay as their colleagues, they would add $141 billion to the economy (or 1% of the GDP).[/su_pullquote]In the early years of someone’s career, those with the most commonly-reported disabilities (ambulatory, hearing, and cognitive) tend to concentrate in certain sectors. Census data shows that median earnings are “about the same” as those without ($.87 on the dollar). However, these workers are less likely to work full-time or year-round.
The American Institute for Research (AIR) has shown that people with disabilities earn on average 37% less than non-disabled people, and the pay gap actually increases with higher education levels.
More recent Census data found that among the 11 million employed Americans with disabilities, their median earnings were just 66% of that of their non-disabled peers. The Brookings Institute found that as of 2018, disabled people with a high school degree had a 10% lower employment rate than non-disabled people. Among disabled college graduates, the employment rate was 27% lower. AIR reported that the annual disability pay gap among workers with Master’s degrees was over $20,000 per year.
There’s plenty of doubt about whether these numbers will change in the near future. Harvard Business Review reports that while 90% of companies say they prioritize diversity and inclusion in the workplace, only 4% consider disability in these efforts.
AIR’s data (from 2014) also showed that this wage gap has some serious consequences for the American economy. They estimate that if workers with disabilities received the same pay as their colleagues, they would add $141 billion to the economy (or 1% of the GDP). The country is also missing out on roughly $25 billion of tax revenue, and states could be bringing in $6.5 billion if the wage gap among the disabled was remediated.
Again, the wage gap hurts us all.
It may come as no surprise at this point, but women with disabilities are at a bigger disadvantage than their male counterparts. They’re about half as likely as disabled men to have jobs and work full-time.
Due to discrimination, Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex employees don’t always identify their status at work, so it’s hard to get a grasp on precise wage gaps. The data we do have, however, reminds us that wage disparity is not just a gender or racial issue.
The National LGBTQ Task Force’s 2011 report “Injustice At Every Turn” has a wealth of data on transgender workers and their families, but their wage gap is even harder to measure since gender pay gap legislation requires employers to report on “men” and “women,” leaving no room for transitioning and gender non-conforming workers.
We know that there is a wage gap, as well as a significant increase in poverty levels among transgender individuals. But one telling statistic is that the earnings of male transgender workers slightly increased following their transition, whereas the wages of female transgender workers fell by nearly one-third. There have been multiple stories by transgender women attesting to the fact that they didn’t notice a significant gap in their wages or employment opportunities until they became women.
Why do companies pay some people less, and what can we do about it?
[su_pullquote align=”right”]By attributing pay gaps to the choices individuals make and downplaying the role of discrimination, we willfully obscure the fact that they are persistent and universal.[/su_pullquote]Plenty of people have insisted that education, workforce experience, industry, occupation, seniority, salary expectations, family obligations, overtime, and full-time versus part-time work account for all wage gaps. But such arguments fail to account for discrimination, which plays a central role in equal pay.
By attributing pay gaps to the choices individuals make and downplaying the role of discrimination, we willfully obscure the fact that they are persistent and universal. And since some discrimination is the result of unconscious bias, trying to dismiss it as a reason for unequal pay robs us of the chance to understand the employee compensation system – and ourselves – better. The first step is to take a close look at where our economy provides unequal opportunities for people from education to training to career choices.
A person’s job choice is influenced by choices about educational paths, the presence of and advice of mentors, familial and societal expectations, the hiring practices of companies, and expectations about what their roles are outside of work. Women and minorities are at a disadvantage all along this path as they’re led into different types of roles based on societal expectations. We can’t underestimate just how much a lack of role models and mentors in a field or hostility in the college classroom plays a role in discouraging someone from entering it. And even if they do, the lack of diversity at the top levels of a company is discouraging – it’s a sign that no women or minorities have been promoted before them.
It’s important to note that closing the wage gap isn’t about paying people with fewer qualifications or fewer working hours the same salary as more qualified people. It’s about giving everyone the chance to earn the same wage regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, disability status, sexual orientation, etc. To assume that those who want to close the wage gap want to give less qualified candidates the same wage is to build a straw man.
[su_pullquote align=”left”]It’s important to note that closing the wage gap isn’t about paying people with fewer qualifications or fewer working hours the same salary as more qualified people. It’s about giving everyone the chance to earn the same wage regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, disability status, sexual orientation…[/su_pullquote]Giving women and other underpaid groups raises across the board simply because there is a wage gap would give rise to myriad problems. It might be prohibitively expensive for some companies or raise other legal liabilities. Raises across the board may reduce incentives and privilege underqualified workers, and may also signal to underperforming employees that their performance is adequate when it’s not.
But companies ought to look at their salary numbers and employee data, identify any unexplained wage gaps, and try to figure out how they came to be (for example: Are women hired with lower salaries? Are their raises smaller?). At that point, they can make an informed decision about closing and preventing wage gaps and eliminating discrimination.
In the end, we all end up paying for the wage gap in one way or another. Driving families into poverty can help perpetuate a vicious cycle of underemployment and continued low wages.
As we’ve seen, the tax revenue and subsequent boost to the economy that would come with evening out wages for similarly qualified workers is measured in the billions of dollars. Closing the wage gap could be seen as a common good. After all, equal pay is the law in the U.S. for many underpaid groups.
But as long as we deny that a wage gap exists or obscure the information that would allow us to carefully identify their causes, we won’t get very far.
If you’ve applied for a job at a large company in the last few years, there’s a good chance that an algorithm sorted your resume before a human being even saw it. Companies that make AI hiring algorithms are out to disrupt recruiting and hiring by making it faster and easier to find the “right” candidate.
But what does that mean for applicants who are a good fit but don’t “check all the boxes”? And what does it mean for women and people of color who are historically underrepresented in many industries?
The “right people,” faster and cheaper
The use of AI or “deep learning” (a subset of AI) in the hiring process refers to employing algorithms to find patterns in employment data (whether they be résumés or new “gamified” assessments). These patterns and identifiers theoretically serve as signals that a person will be successful in a position based on historical data.
By applying these measurements to potential employees, those who deploy the technology hope to determine whether a person is a “good fit” for their company. Humans become a series of data points that are plotted against the parameters set by the company.
[su_pullquote align=”right”]Assuming AI is objective just because it involves a machine is a big mistake. When AI makes hiring decisions, maintenance of the status quo is liable to be justified as scientifically valid.[/su_pullquote]We’ve long known the main problem with this: those who build the algorithms have unconscious biases that sneak into the code. Even though the “intelligent” algorithms end up eventually training themselves, that original bias of what to value is still there. And machines have yet to prove they are much better than humans at preventing bias.
There are plenty of examples of biased algorithms that devalue the skills of women and minorities. Still, companies around the world are implementing this technology in the hopes of diversifying their workforce. The stated goal of such employers is to have these algorithms pick out candidates based on skills alone rather than more subjective criteria. But as we’ll see, the desire for more data snowballs, and we end up in pseudoscientific territory as a result.
Take, for example, the short-lived hiring algorithm created by Amazon. While it was supposed to be kept on the down-low, five people from within the company revealed to Reuters that the company had been building the hiring algorithm since 2014 based on the resumes of previously successful employees. That sounds good until you realize that most of those employees were men. That means the algorithm learned to value the skills and language used in men’s résumés to predict who would be a good hire.
“Everyone wanted this holy grail,” one of the employees said. “They literally wanted it to be an engine where I’m going to give you 100 résumés, it will spit out the top five, and we’ll hire those.”
Unsurprisingly, that didn’t leave them with a diverse pool of candidates.
The vast majority of AI workers – the ones training these algorithms – are men, with estimates ranging from 78-80% of the total workforce. AI NOW reported in 2018 that only 15% of AI researchers at Facebook and 10% of AI researchers at Google were women. A look at the “People” page of Facebook’s AI initiative in November of 2020 shows there are still just 26 women on the team out of a total of 170 team members. With 71% of the global AI applicant pool made up of men, we’re still a long way from seeing changes any time soon unless companies make proactive efforts to hire more women.
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”400″ size=”20″ bg_color=”#f6f6f6″ txt_color=”#000″]One of the many problems facing the use of AI in hiring for diversity is that computer science itself isn’t a terribly diverse field. In fact, in 2019, the AI Now Institute reported on the state of computer science, which exhibited what The Guardian called “a disastrous lack of diversity.“[/mks_pullquote]The same goes for ethnicity. Caucasian and Asian workers make up the majority of the tech workforce. While many companies don’t reveal their ethnic diversity data, we do know that a mere 3.9% of Facebook employees are Black (up from just 3.5% in 2018) and 6.3% are Hispanic (up from 4.9%). Those identifying as bi-racial increased from 3 to 4% in that time. As of July 2020, white workers made up 41% of Facebook staff; Asian workers 44%.
Microsoft, which promised to double the number of Black managers and leaders, announced in June 2020 that Black workers made up 4.9% of its U.S. workforce but only 2.6%-3.7% of managers and executives. The number of Hispanic employees increased to 6.6%, but just 3.3%-5.4% held higher-level positions. And the percentage of women in the company’s global workforce rose slightly as well – to 28.6%. It’s important to note the company has lost two Black vice presidents over the last year and one of its most senior female executives.
How does Google fare in all of this? Well, according to their 2020 Diversity Report, the number of women at the company (in both tech and non-tech roles) increased from 31.6% to just 32% over the previous year. The number of Black workers increased by only 0.5% while those who identify as Latinx saw their numbers rise by only 0.2%. And when it came to intersectional hiring, the number of white, Black, and Native American women brought on board by the company over the last year all decreased. The number of Black women increased by just 0.01% while Asian women are up to 16.1% of the workforce (from 15.6% in 2019).
For example, Facebook announced an ambitious plan in June to make its workforce at least 50% “women, people who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islanders, people with two or more ethnicities, people with disabilities, and veterans” within the next five years, and to “double [their] number of women globally and Black and Hispanic employees in the US.” Currently, its US workforce (which is the only one it reports these statistics for) is 44% female, though mostly in non-technical roles. In 2020, when their latest diversity report was released, their U.S. workers were 41% white (and white workers held 63.2% of leadership roles), 44.4% Asian, 6.3% Hispanic (though mostly in non-technical roles), and 3.9% Black (the rest are listed as multi-ethnic or “other”). Few gains have been made when it comes to diversity in technical roles over the last year at Facebook.
How companies use AI to “disrupt hiring”
While many people are questioning the legitimacy of AI in the hiring process, dozens of companies are selling this software and promising a diverse candidate pool and staff as a result. These companies claim to be able to make job postings appeal to a wider variety of candidates, objectively vet résumés, build a diverse list of candidates to interview, and rediscover candidates who applied to the company in the past but whose résumés were initially overlooked.
When it comes to letting AI assess job postings, companies like Textio promise to eliminate language that discourages women and minorities from applying to a job. By performing what’s called a “sentiment analysis,” they claim they can make a job ad appealing to all genders and ethnicities. Their algorithm is trained on hundreds of millions of previous job listings.
Two business psychologists – Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Reece Akhtar – have suggested in the Harvard Business Review that using AI in assessing interviews might even be a good thing. Traditional interviews can be unstructured and follow different lines of inquiry based on candidates’ answers. The thinking is that if interviews were conducted digitally and the transcript assessed later by algorithms, AI could use only the relevant information and ignore physical appearance, facial expression, and body language. Regardless of how scientific this sounds, there’s very little evidence to back this digital pseudoscience.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”400″ size=”20″ bg_color=”#f6f6f6″ txt_color=”#000″]HireVue, for example, is building systems that go so far as to use a job candidates’ computer or cellphone cameras to analyze their facial movements, word choices, and voice tenor and then rank them based on some opaque “employability score.” If a candidate doesn’t meet a company’s model for look and speech, it could affect their entire career.[/mks_pullquote]But not all algorithms try to strip personal data. As we get more and more excited about quantification and imagine that our algorithms will thrive based on more data, companies are finding ways to quantify everything. HireVue, for example, is building systems that go so far as to use a job candidates’ computer or cellphone cameras to analyze their facial movements, word choices, and voice tenor and then rank them based on some opaque “employability score.” If a candidate doesn’t meet a company’s model for look and speech, it could affect their entire career. AI researchers and ethicists have called it dangerous; companies have called them uninformed.
Once again, there’s very little research showing that “talent analytics,” which attempt to decode non-verbal behavior or assess the results of surveys and games, are effective and non-biased. The best we can say is that they may be less biased than humans. But that’s not a reason to market them as “objective” – and the quantification of human beings risks putting us at the mercy of algorithms we know nothing about.
Perhaps one of the most promising uses of AI in hiring for diversity is its use in uncovering bias in past hiring decisions by mining the data of candidates who have previously been passed over for jobs. After all, machines are built to do high volume, repetitive tasks. While there are likely to be problems with the identification criteria, algorithms can still gather data such as phrases or words that are common in rejected résumés and cross-check that language with gender and ethnic language data. Having humans assess that might give us some more insight into how we have unfairly judged female and minority candidates in the past.
Gaming the system
To add to the complexity of using AI in hiring, companies are increasingly using tests and games, thinking it will dovetail nicely with the use of AI as one more metric for their algorithms. Take, for example, a company such as Unilever, which has touted its success in hiring more diverse candidates after having all applicants play neuroscience games.
Canadian researchers have found that these tests can be reliable in predicting job performance when used in hiring selection decisions. However, such tests “invariably lead to lower job selection rates for minority groups because they score lower on average than majority group members.” That’s not because minority candidates lack the knowledge or aptitude for the job, but because these tests aren’t merit-based. They’re designed to test for the status quo, which is usually white and middle class. These tests may predict job performance, but is that because continuing to hire white men is easier than instituting diversity and inclusion initiatives that make workplaces more inviting to women and minorities? Of course, white men will thrive in an environment tailored to them in the first place.
There’s no doubt that the goal of many of these software firms is to help level the playing field. The good intentions are there. So are the beliefs that this works at the corporate level. The Boston-based consulting group BCG Henderson and MIT Sloan Management Review found that 85% of executives surveyed believed AI would give their companies a competitive advantage; 60% said that having an AI strategy is urgent.
But are cognitive ability and intelligence tests reliable predictors of work success, or do they bring us one step closer to an era of digital eugenics?
The problems inherent in digital hiring initiatives
Even under the best of circumstances, there are multiple issues facing companies that use AI in their hiring processes.
The first is a lack of transparency concerning the inner-workings of the algorithm itself. Companies that sell AI hiring services use proprietary algorithms, making their inner-workings opaque, even to the company that buys it. These “black box” algorithms leave us guessing about how judgments are made, meaning that hiring diversity can’t be judged until farther down the line.
That brings us back to transparency. If we can’t build objective algorithms, the least we can do is open them up to public scrutiny. That way, you potentially get a diverse set of eyes on them to help ferret out issues that the development team may have missed. But again, these are the intellectual property of the companies that own them, and making that material open access is akin to financial suicide.
In an effort to address this, in April of 2019, US Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) introduced the Algorithmic Accountability Act, which would require companies “to study and fix flawed computer algorithms that result in inaccurate, unfair, biased or discriminatory decisions impacting Americans.” The bill acknowledges that “algorithms have authors,” according to Rep. Clarke, and that they may act contrary to current anti-discrimination laws. But it also assumes that bias is straightforward and easy to ferret out with the right intentions – and we have yet to find sure-fire ways of ensuring that. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where it currently sits.
The next issue is one of retention. Even if we were able to ensure a diverse workforce with the use of AI, hiring is only the first step. Taking on new employees of different genders and ethnicities requires inclusion in the workplace so that those employees stay with the company. That’s why diversity and inclusion so often go together. AI algorithms don’t do much to assess the employee life cycle or ensure that women and minority workers will be treated fairly once they are hired.
More often than not, fields dominated by white men have a shallow candidate pool. Potential workers might be hesitant to enter fields where they are not well-represented or won’t have mentors who look like them. Even at the high school and college level, these fields may produce relatively few women and minorities, in which case we’re going to need more than an algorithm to solve the problem.
Let’s pretend for a moment that we are able to develop a reliable algorithm that allows companies to hire a diverse workforce. Let’s even assume that retention is not an issue. We are still left with the question of how we got there and whether or not it was ethical or respectful of people’s privacy. There’s a big difference between what we can know about candidates and what we should know about them. How much data is a company entitled to gather about a (potential) worker?
Companies that use the excuse that candidates can opt-out of such data collection are saying that they opt-out of their chances of being considered for the job. And promises to treat data with the utmost sensitivity should be met with skepticism. A company can undoubtedly pledge to keep the data they’ve gathered private, but no one is capable of ensuring it will never be leaked or hacked.
AI algorithms also raise questions about whether this data gathering violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and other employment laws. Take scores on neurological games or even social media deep-dives as examples – will these give employers information they aren’t entitled to, such as family status, political orientation, sexual orientation, or whether a candidate is pregnant or physically or mentally ill? AI may be able to glean some of this from its analytics and behavioral measurements. But how will that data be used (and secured)?
Finally, there’s a good argument to be made that we shouldn’t even try to strip résumés or interview answers of their gender or ethnicity data.
When a field lacks diversity, leveling the playing field may require more than objective analysis; it may require deliberate hiring strategies. Companies may need to actively seek out minority or female candidates, not expect an algorithm to produce them.
Ethicists have warned all along that technology that is employed before we assess its social implications will likely lead to negative consequences. Nevertheless, we’ve moved ahead at full speed despite the lack of proof that AI is accurate, unbiased, or ethical at any stage. That means that the only way to get companies to curb their use of these tools now (and therefore backtrack on their investments) may be lawsuits filed by those who have been discriminated against by AI. That’s certainly not a time-saving or cost-effective way to conduct business.
Companies are eager to claim that they’re disrupting recruitment (in a good way) with AI. But we should be ready to accept that algorithms might never be a reliable solution to solving the diversity issues we face in hiring and retention.
In terms of revenue, companies with greater racial and ethnic diversity are likely to have financial returns above national industry medians. For example, in McKinsey’s reports on corporate diversity in 2014, 2017, and 2019, researchers found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were increasingly profitable – 15% more in 2014, 21% more in 2017, and then 25% more as of 2019’s analysis. Alas, female representation on executive teams rose just 1 percentage point globally between 2017 and 2019, to 15%. Over one-third of companies in their global data set still had no woman at all on those teams.iii
When it came to ethnic and cultural diversity, the most diverse companies outperformed the least in terms of profitability by 36% in 2019, up from 33% in 2017. In fact, the likelihood of outperformance by ethnically diverse companies is even higher than it is for gender and yet the representation of ethnic minorities rose to only 14% globally (up from 12% in 2017).
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If diversity is so beneficial to a company’s bottom line and its workforce…why do they remain predominantly white and male from the staff to the C-suite and board?
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When it comes to work-life balance, diversity among corporate leaders is key. Even twenty years ago, a study found that when women and people of color held half or more of the top jobs, companies were far more likely to provide flextime and childcare – an issue now equally important for men and one that leads to better morale, higher retention rates, and a more productive workforce.v
Even more perplexing is a 2020 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of corporate directors. Researchers found that 84% agree that companies should be doing more to promote gender and racial diversity in the workplace while only 34% say it is very important to have racial diversity on their board. Only 47% of directors said gender diversity was very important and a mere 39% thought D&I objectives should be rewarded via executive pay plans.
But while a 2018 PwC study found that 91% of directors have taken steps to increase diversity, 52% still think these efforts are simply driven by political correctness and 48% said their shareholders are too preoccupied with the topic..vi
Despite the visibility of women leaders over the last decade, they are still woefully underrepresented in leadership positions. But there is some good news. By 2019, there were no all-male boards in the S&P 500, more than one-quarter (26%) of board directors were women (a record high), and accounted for nearly half (46%) of all new board directors in the S&P 500. Last year, 10% of those board directors were women of color.
Now that we are 3 years into the #MeToo movement, there is also evidence to suggest that there have been unintended consequences that have actually made it more difficult for women to advance their careers. A 2019 survey conducted by LeanIn.org and SurveyMonkey found that 60% of male managers are now uncomfortable performing everyday workplace activities such as mentoring, working one-on-one, or socializing with women, which represented a 32% increase over last year. Since mentoring and networking are vital to advancing one’s career, how are women supposed to take advantage of these benefits if men are afraid to be around them?
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”22″ bg_color=”#e0995e” txt_color=”#ffffff”]To add to the absurdity, in 2018 there were more men named James in Fortune 500 chief executive positions than all women put together.[/mks_pullquote]To make matters worse, our knowledge of gender parity is severely lacking in corporate America due to underreporting. Only 3% of Fortune 500 companies openly share diversity data since it’s not a requirement. But digging deeper into news stories and interviews with corporate leaders can reveal gender and ethnicity data. For example, it shows that as of September 2020, a record 38 Fortune 500 CEOs were female. If you are keeping score, that’s still just 38 out of 500.
To add to the absurdity, in 2018 there were more men named James in Fortune 500 chief executive positions than all women put together – and women outnumbered men named John (who were also all white) by just 2.ix
On the other hand, S&P companies report more diversity data, but the news is mixed. Women account for just 6.2% of CEOs at S&P 500 companies in 2020 (32 total). Back in January, 44.7% of employees at these companies were women, but they only made up 36.9% of first or mid-level management. The numbers drop significantly the higher you go – only 26.5% of executive or senior-level executives were women.
While today 27% of S&P 500 board members are women, a 2017 report showed that women and minorities accounted for nearly half of the roughly 400 newly-created independent directorships at these companies, with women holding 32% of the positions and Black, Hispanic, and Asian workers holding 15% (though this was down from 18% in 2015).x
While today only 21.2% of S&P 500 board members are women, a 2017 report showed that women and minorities accounted for nearly half of the roughly 400 newly-created independent directorships at these companies, with women holding 32% of the positions and African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians holding 15% (though this was down from 18% in 2015).xi
But as investigative journalist Susan Reed has explained, “a highly diverse board does not necessarily mean that the executives who run a company are — or ever become — truly diverse.” Furthermore, boards frequently serve as “smokescreens” that “conceal just how white a company’s leaders (the CEO and his team) are.” In fact, the more diverse a company’s board is, the more likely their management teams are to be white.xii
Reed also notes that while the average share of female and minority executives has increased, white women have achieved these positions at a much higher rate than people of color, which has created a racial glass ceiling.
ETHNIC DIVERSITY DATA
While most Americans still identify as white, statistical projections have made it clear that the nation will become minority white by 2045.xiii In 2017, African Americans comprised 13.4% of the U.S. population and Hispanic and Latino Americans 18.1%. The Hispanic and Latino population is expected to grow the fastest, reaching 24.6% by 2060.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”22″ bg_color=”#5a6f8c” txt_color=”#ffffff”]…the researchers found that if company performance declined during the tenure of a minority CEO, they were likely to be replaced by white men who were subsequently seen as “saviors” of the organization if it eventually recovered.[/mks_pullquote]Comparing board diversity in Fortune 500 companies between 2016 and 2018, the presence of Black women increased by 26.2% (an increase of 32 seats). Black men saw an increase of 8.5% (26 seats), Hispanic/Latino men on board increased 14.3% (gaining 21 seats), and Hispanic/Latina women saw a gain of 9.8% (but only 4 seats). The biggest gains in Fortune 500 board seats were achieved by Asian/Pacific Islander women, with an increase of 38.6% (17 seats). Men of Asian/Pacific Island ethnicity saw an increase of 20.3% (25 seats).
Today, there are only 3 Black Fortune 500 CEOs. None of them are women.
Nevertheless, the most recent data from a 2018 Catalyst report showed that Caucasian/White men held 66% of all Fortune 500 board seats and 91.1% of chairmanships on those boards – nowhere near representative of the actual population – and still hold the majority of power positions even in companies with diverse boards..xiv
Nevertheless, Caucasian/White men still hold 66% of all Fortune 500 board seats and 91.1% of chairmanships on those boards, nowhere near representative of the actual population and still holding the majority of power positions even in companies with diverse boards.
When it comes to Fortune 100 companies, the numbers are slightly better, though 23% of those companies do not release demographic data. In 2018, 19.5% of Fortune 100 company board seats were held by minorities, compared to 16% of Fortune 500 seats. Black women saw a 44.8% increase in seats – the largest of any group (though that represented just 13 seats). Caucasian/White men saw a decrease of 3% (23 seats) and men of all ethnicities saw a 1.2% decrease (or 11 seats).
While there’s been significant progress in achieving parity on boards, C-suite executives are actually less diverse now than they were a few years ago. Currently, there are just three black CEOs running Fortune 500 companies (5 fewer than there were three years ago) and the number of women CEOs dropped 25% (to 24 since) between June 2017 and May 2018.xv
Another troubling obstacle for diverse leaders? The so-called “glass cliff.” A 2013 study of 15 years of leadership in Fortune 500 companies showed that women and minorities are often appointed to leadership roles during periods of crisis or failure within an organization, making them far more risky to take on. To make matters worse, the researchers found that if company performance declined during the tenure of a minority CEO (which seems likely if one inherits serious problems), they were likely to be replaced by white men, who were subsequently seen as “saviors” of the organization if it eventually recovered.xvi
ARE MILLENNIALS THE ANSWER?
It turns out that we may have millennials – typically defined as those born between 1981 and 1996 – to thank for making the workplace more diverse.
This generation will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, and their ideas about diversity are far more nuanced than their predecessors’.xvii Not only that, but they make up 30% of the voting population, so they have the power to be changemakers on multiple fronts.xviii They’re also a more diverse generation and overwhelmingly believe that diversity and inclusion lead to innovation and they’re far more likely to stay in jobs where they feel valued and accepted. Better yet, their definition of diversity is not limited to gender and ethnicity but includes LGBTQIA+, veteran, and disability status as well.
They’ll also have Generation Z – the most racially diverse generation in American history to back them up. By 2020, 50.2% of children under 18 will come from a minority ethnic group.xx
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Generation Z…the most racially diverse generation in American history…are young, educated, socially active and they are ready to change the way we all work.
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In order to retain top talent and ensure healthy futures, companies will need to recognize the importance of these workers. Young people already show decreasing company loyalty – 43% of Millennials envision leaving their jobs within two years and 61% of Gen Z says they would leave within two years if given the choice.xxi
Why? Well, they don’t feel valued in the workplace; they expect flexibility and a positive work culture that helps them build skills; and they care deeply about ethical behavior and making positive contributions to society. They are young, educated, socially active and they are ready to change the way we all work.xxii They’re also about to outnumber older generations of workers who dismiss them as flaky and idealistic.
Still, there’s a long way to go before women and minorities in these groups are represented at the top. They will demand change, but it won’t happen overnight and companies would be wise to expect some growing pains as they adapt to their new workforce and future executives, especially as older generations work into their 70s.
If projections are correct, the number of women in the labor force will grow faster than that of men, increasing to 47.2% in 2024.xxiii By that time, Hispanics are projected to be nearly 20% of the labor force (30% by 2060), with African-Americans making up 12.7%, and Asians 6.6% – all an increase over 2014 demographics.xxiv
But the workforce and corporate leadership are two very different things, and the growing diversity of the workforce does not mean that women and minorities will automatically move into positions of power. That will still require a concerted effort to provide leadership and mentoring opportunities as well as useful diversity training.
Whether or not you are a federal contractor, you need to take specific steps to make sure you aren’t discriminating during your recruitment process, and you need to be proactive about hiring diverse employees.
That starts with the best diversity outreach.
The strength of DiversityJobs is helping employers engage members of all diversity groups by posting jobs to DiversityJobs.com and each of our niche diversity sites.
Our compliance tool documents this job posting outreach and maintains saved records for you – including visual screenshots – of each job live on the diversity sites.
The dashboard displays records of all of your jobs within the date range specified. That table can be filtered by date, keyword, or you can just access a specific job ID.
You can choose to access a report for a particular job, which contains the timestamp, screenshot, and all relevant details for that job posting as it was published to each diversity site – including, but not limited to, VeteranJobs and DisabilityJobs. That same single report may also be downloaded as a PDF.
You can also generate an EXCEL report for offline use across all jobs filtered in the jobs list table. Just toggle the necessary date range, click ‘generate report’ and you’ll trigger the download of a spreadsheet with all the information you need to prove your efforts to reach members of all diversity groups.
Finally, if you need a ZIP file with the screenshots from all your jobs, please make the request with your Account Director, and we’ll be happy to help you out.
Ready to find talent?
Welcome to our Résumé search form.
Most fields are fairly self-explanatory such as WHAT, WHERE & WITHIN.
For example: Civil Engineer within 15 miles of Boston, MA.
WHAT: Civil Engineer WHERE: Boston, MA WITHIN: 15 miles
In the resume search form, you may hover over the ‘WHAT’ box to reveal a few search tips or click the “i” icon for more information. That will take you to a page with even more tips for keyword searches using quotations, AND, OR, different characters, and the results they’ll return.
You may also filter results by WHEN resumes were uploaded to our system, sort results by keyword relevance, or date when resumes were posted.
There are some cases where keyword searches aren’t feasible. For example, let’s imagine you are running a search for a broad spectrum of IT professionals. However, there are literally hundreds of programming languages, tools, and specialties that it doesn’t make sense to search using all those terms as keywords. You’d be searching for days!
With our powerful AI Resume Parsing technology, you can broadly fetch entire professional fields. Our technology identifies all candidates’ functional areas by analyzing their education, previous jobs, and skills.
And yes, you can use the Detected Areas field in conjunction with other fields.
For instance, search for keyword ‘Healthcare’ and filter Detected Area as ‘Sales’, and you’ll see a range of sales candidates – from Account Managers, Sales Executives to Sales Managers – with experience in Healthcare.
We cannot pretend that institutional racism doesn’t exist when we see repeated violence and hatred against Black Americans. And we cannot pretend that same racism doesn’t spill over into all American institutions, including the workplace.
Right now, Americans in all 50 states are protesting the long history of police brutality against Black men and women after the killing of George Floyd by a (now-former) Minneapolis police officer and the officers’ complicity around him. The productiveoutrage helps illuminate racial disparities and inequality that has been pervasive – but that many of us have chosen to ignore – in all American institutions.
In a recent interview, Bishop T.D. Jakes addressed the anger and frustration felt by the Black community:
“We want what you want. It’s not a mystery. We want to grow old. We want to live. We want a chance at opportunities. We want better education…We want that when a PPP [Payment Protection Program] comes through, and a CARES Act comes down, we want the bank to treat us like they treat you and to give equal access to opportunities…We are not asking not to be arrested. We are just asking not to be tried on the sidewalk. Just don’t arrest me, try me, convict me and kill me on the sidewalk…You can’t be that blind that you don’t see that.”
The recent high-profile racial violence has played out against the backdrop of a lethal pandemic that has killed Black Americans at twice the rate of white Americans. Public health experts have long known the factors that determine such health outcomes, which are the conditions in which people live, work, learn, and gather.  These factors are all tied to what people can afford. With historically large racial disparity in employment and earnings, and thus, access to healthcare, it’s no surprise that Black Americans have been the most harmed by Covid-19, and that public health officials are warning that racism is in fact an urgent public health threat. Skyrocketing unemployment due to the pandemic has only exacerbated these issues.
Within this context, we need to understand that protestors are also fighting to end the racism that keeps so many Black Americans from building the same quality of life that the rest of us enjoy.
And we can’t be blind to how that is connected to racial inequality in the workplace. Here are some facts:
1. The unemployment rate has historically been twice as high for Black Americans as it is for white Americans, and the pandemic has only made the disparity worse.
This year, 41 million people in the U.S. have filed for unemployment, mainly due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the country’s current unemployment rate sits at roughly 16.3%.  Our most recent data shows that 16.8% of Black Americans are out of work. Latinx workers had the highest unemployment rate in May – 17.6%. Many people cheered this week when it was announced the overall unemployment rate surprisingly dropped in May when it was widely expected to increase.
But unemployment rates for Black Americans and Latinx workers did increase, while white unemployment dropped to12.4% from 14.2%. Even more frustrating is that in August of 2019, Black workers in the U.S. had a record low unemployment rate of 5.4%. That has now been erased.
We know that this phenomenon cannot be explained by the fact that white men and women are more educated than their counterparts because that simply isn’t true. We’ve long known that deep-seated racism has kept people of color with the same qualifications out of jobs as well as prevented them from rising through the ranks at the same rate as white workers. Gender bias makes this even more difficult for women of color.
Even when controlling for education, Black and Hispanic men earn roughly 80% of white men’s hourly earnings in recent years, and Black and Hispanic women earn just 70% of similarly educated white men. Research also shows that these people of color have made almost no progress in narrowing the wage gap since 1980.
Equal representation is one of the founding guidelines of American democracy, and it increases federal agencies’ ability to serve and protect people who come from different backgrounds. We know from experience that we cannot create effective public policy if policymakers don’t understand the issues and concerns of the citizens they serve. 
Racism is clearly systemic. It’s widespread. It’s embedded in the norms of our society and all of our institutions. And we need to acknowledge this before systems of oppression can be eliminated.
In a video this weekend, longtime San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich addressed the critical role white Americans play in standing against racial inequality in the wake of the George Floyd killing. He stated:
“We [white people] have to do it. Black people have been shouldering this burden for 400 years…The only reason this nation has made the progress it has is because of the persistence, patience and effort of Black people…it’s got to be us, in my opinion, that speak truth to power and call it out, no matter what the consequences. We have to speak.”
“It’s got to be us that speak truth to power, that call it out no matter the consequences. We have to not let anything go. Our country is in trouble and the basic reason is race.”#SpursVoicespic.twitter.com/uTyOIzGnTg
The unwillingness of white people in positions of power – who make up the vast majority of corporate and government leadership – to stand against racism means these inequalities will continue to thrive in our streets and in our workplaces. And the protests must continue to be a catalyst for change. We must be open to listening to those who have been harmed by our current systems. And we cannot fear equality or assume that we will lose something by lifting others and supporting their cause.
Just as we’re protesting racial violence, we need to address the racial inequality we see in our workplaces that keeps Black Americans and all people of color from accessing opportunities to create better lives. Employment equality is a human right that belongs to all of us.
The ‘live jobs’ tab will list all jobs currently live on DiversityJobs.com. You may recall from your scraping membership, job postings do not expire at a predetermined date like 30 or 60 days. They simply stay live on our sites as long as they are live at your career site. So all active jobs will be listed on this page back to the date the job first went live with us.
The ‘title’ column is where you can click to see how we are displaying the full job description for that particular job.
The ‘views-applies’ column will provide you a snapshot of the number of times that particular job has been viewed by candidates on our sites, and the number of times the ‘apply now’ button has been clicked from the full job description pages.
See the overview of our Job Performance tab for a full overview of what we are displaying to job seekers in search results and for a detailed breakdown of performance on a per-job basis.
Did you know there are millions of searches every month for ‘jobs’ on Google?
Naturally, people use search terms that match their interests and experience, with phrases like ‘engineering jobs’ or ‘jobs in finance.’ And it’s no surprise that people often add geographical factors to narrow the results, such as ‘in Dallas,’ ‘near me,’ or ‘remote.’
What’s intriguing is that job seekers also use terms that identify their backgrounds and that reveal truths about themselves. We know this because web analytics allow us to see how many people are using phrases like ‘diversity jobs,’ ‘jobs for Hispanics,’ ‘African American jobs,’ ‘jobs for Asians,’ ‘bilingual jobs,’ ‘multicultural jobs,’ ‘jobs for women,’ ‘LGBT jobs,’ ‘disability jobs,’ etc.
These millions of searches reveal three critical components of job search:
These searches are being conducted on Google – not on the big, Name-Brand job search sites. Maybe it’s just convenient to Google-search. Or perhaps job seekers are looking for alternatives to general job sites with millions of other candidates, and they want to stand out from the crowd.
Job seekers are searching for more meaningful careers that match who they are as unique individuals. People don’t run searches for ‘jobs’ along with diverse terms – ‘veteran,’ ‘women,’ ‘LGBT,’ or ‘people of color’ – unless that is who they are and what they care about projecting.
These searches make it clear that job seekers are hoping to land that next opportunity with a diversity-friendly employer in an inclusive environment.
That’s the reason for DiversityJobs.com
Our mission is to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace by creating a space where job seekers can start meaningful careers with employers who value diversity.