Tech talent diversity by race/ethnicity and sex has evolved slowly. Remote work and workforce analytics have created an opportunity to accelerate the process.

Strategic approaches to diverse team building can be enhanced by greater use of data and benchmarking analytics that identify where diverse talent is located and being developed. Our analysis details workforce race/ethnicity and sex by market, industry, job classification and income bracket, as well as college tech degree graduates’ race/ethnicity and sex by market.

Industry Diversity

U.S. tech talent across all industries was little changed over the past five years and remains predominantly White, Asian and male relative to total employment and office-using employment.4 According to 2020 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic, Black and other non-White and non-Asian groups and females were underrepresented (Figures 15 and 16). The tech industry, which accounts for 41% of tech talent in the U.S., had more underrepresentation than tech talent across all industries. When the overall tech industry workforce consisting of a 47% to 53% split between tech and non-tech occupations is considered, there are higher shares of underrepresented groups compared with tech occupations alone.

Figure 15: U.S. Workforce by Race/Ethnicity for Selected Industries, 2020

Source: U.S. Census, IPUMS and CBRE Research, May 2022.

4 Non-tech occupations in industries that heavily use office space for their operations including information, professional & business services and financial activities.

Female Diversity

Females were significantly underrepresented within tech talent occupations across all industries (Figure 16). Within the tech industry, females were more underrepresented in tech occupations at 21% compared with 24% across all industries. Females accounted for 33% of all occupations within the tech industry, below the 47% share for total employment and 52% share for office-using industries. Females within underrepresented race/ethnicity groups (Hispanic, Black and Other) had a higher share of jobs than White and Asian females in four of the five workforce categories, with tech talent within the tech industry being the exception. Black females had the highest share of jobs for all race/ethnicity groups and workforce categories.

Figure 16: U.S. Female Workforce for Selected Industries, 2020

Note: Office-using industries include information, financial activities and professional and business services (excluding tech industry within these categories)
Source: U.S. Census, IPUMS and CBRE Research, May 2022.

Occupation Diversity

Segmenting tech talent occupations across all industries in two broad categories showed that there was a higher concentration of female workers within Computer Support, Database & Systems occupations at 28.5% than within Software Developers, Programmers & Engineers at 18.8% (Figure 17). By race/ethnicity within these same occupations, Black females were less underrepresented than Black males.

Figure 17: U.S. Tech Talent Occupation Category by Race/Ethnicity & Sex, 2020

Source: U.S. Census, IPUMS and CBRE Research, May 2022.

Income Diversity

U.S. tech talent across all industries segmented by annual wage bracket for race/ethnicity and sex showed a higher concentration of underrepresented groups and females in the lower wage ranges. This data does not conclude unequal wages for these groups, only representation in each bracket. A more detailed job-by-job and person-by-person analysis would be required to make such a determination.

Black and Hispanic tech talent in 2020 was concentrated in the under $100,000 wage bracket at 79.0% and 77.7%, respectively, compared with 49.5% for Asians and 67.5% for Whites (Figure 18). Female tech talent making less than $100,000 accounted for 75.8% of their total, compared with 62.9% for males. There were similar concentrations by sex and race for those making less than $100,000. Hispanic, Black and Other females had the highest concentration under $100,000, all 81% or more. Asian males had the highest concentration in the $150,000 or more wage bracket at 22.3%, compared with 13.2% for Whites, 8.0% for Hispanics and 6.7% for Blacks.

Figure 18: U.S. Tech Talent Workforce by Race/Ethnicity and Income Range (2020)

Source: U.S. Census, IPUMS and CBRE Research, May 2022.

Black and Hispanic tech talent in 2020 was concentrated in the under $100,000 wage bracket at 79.0% and 77.7%, respectively, compared with 49.5% for Asians and 67.5% for Whites.
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The same data was compiled for software engineers, the highest tech talent growth category (Figure 19). In general, software engineers earned higher wages than tech talent overall. Other notable differences included 20.9% of males in the $150,000 or more wage bracket, compared with 11.5% of females. Black and Hispanic females in the under $100,000 wage bracket were about the same as Whites at 70%, compared with 50.7% for Asian females. Asian and White males had the highest concentration above $150,000.

Figure 19: U.S. Software Engineers by Race/Ethnicity and Income Range (2020)

Source: U.S. Census, IPUMS and CBRE Research, May 2022.

Market Diversity

Demographics should be benchmarked by the representative workforce within each market. For tech talent markets, there was variability in underrepresented race/ethnic groups and females when benchmarked by office-using industries. If the difference between tech talent and the office-using benchmark was a positive number, it means there was no underrepresentation using this metric.

For underrepresented race/ethnic groups, the most diverse large tech talent markets were Tampa, Boston and Salt Lake City, while the most diverse small tech talent markets were Pittsburgh, Jacksonville and Virginia Beach (Figure 20). The least diverse large markets were Los Angeles/Orange County, Houston and Austin, while the least diverse small markets were San Antonio, Inland Empire and Madison.

Figure 20: Underrepresented Race/Ethnic Groups in U.S. Tech Talent Workforce by Market, 2020

*Difference calculation: tech talent Share minus Office-Using Share Benchmark; **Hispanic, Black, Other Non-White/Non-Asian
Source: U.S. Census, IPUMS and CBRE Research, May 2022.

For underrepresented race/ethnic groups, the most diverse large tech talent markets were Tampa, Boston and Salt Lake City, while the most diverse small tech talent markets were Pittsburgh, Jacksonville and Virginia Beach.
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For females, diversity was well below the office-using benchmark for all markets. The most diverse large tech talent markets were Washington, D.C., San Francisco Bay Area and Portland (Figure 21). The most diverse small markets were Madison, Sacramento and Jacksonville.

Figure 21: Females in U.S. Tech Talent Workforce by Market, 2020

*Difference calculation: tech talent Share minus Office-Using Share Benchmark.
Source: U.S. Census, IPUMS and CBRE Research, May 2022.

Tech Degree Graduate Diversity & Current Enrollment

The pipeline of recent tech degree graduates offers opportunities to build the next generation of talent and use analytics to measure success. These graduates, like the existing tech talent workforce, were predominantly White, Asian and male. Of the 339,000 U.S. tech degree graduates in 2020, 24.3% were from underrepresented race/ethnicity groups and 25.7% were female (Figure 22). Underrepresented race/ethnicity groups accounted for 30.0% of total college graduates in 2020 and females accounted for 60.1%. Asian, Hispanic and other race/ethnicity groups have materially increased their shares of tech degrees since 2010, while the shares of Whites have declined, Blacks have remained about the same and females have increased slightly.

Figure 22: U.S. Tech Degree Graduates' Race/Ethnicity & Sex, 2020 | Bachelor's Degree or Higher

Note: Total tech degree graduates and male/female breakdown includes U.S. resident and foreigners. Race/ethnicity breakdown excludes unknown races and foreigners.
Source: IPEDS and CBRE Research, April 2022.

Compared with the existing tech talent workforce, the share of tech degree graduates from underrepresented groups (24.3%) exceeded existing workers (22.0%) as did female tech degree graduates (25.7%) compared with existing workers (24.4%).

For underrepresented race/ethnic groups, the most diverse markets for tech degree graduates were South Florida, San Antonio, Inland Empire, Houston and Orlando (Figure 23). The least diverse markets were Madison, Columbus, Cincinnati, Detroit and Raleigh-Durham.

Figure 23: U.S. Tech Degree Graduate's Race/Ethnicity & Sex by Market, 2020 | Bachelor's Degree or Higher

Aggregate of Hispanic, Black, Other Non-White/Non-Asian
Note: Total tech degree graduates and male/female breakdown includes U.S. resident and foreigners. Race/ethnicity breakdown excludes unknown races and foreigners.
Source: IPEDS and CBRE Research, April 2022.

For females, the most diverse markets for tech degree graduates were Pittsburgh, San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Seattle and New York Metro. The least diverse markets were Salt Lake City, Orlando, San Antonio, Kansas City and Milwaukee.

The U.S. has a future tech degree graduate pipeline of about 1.2 million, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center5 and estimates by CBRE Research for students enrolled in bachelor’s or higher programs as of Fall 2021. While diversity breakdown for these students was not available, trends suggest they will represent greater tech talent workforce diversity than exists today.

5 Overview: Fall 2021 Enrollment Estimates, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

For females, the most diverse markets for tech degree graduates were Pittsburgh, San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Seattle and New York Metro.
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Tech Talent Diversity Progress

Greater diversity of the tech talent workforce should continue to slowly progress. Our review of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission diversity data and publicly released data from private tech companies confirms this. Changing the pace of workforce diversity is both a challenge and opportunity.

Technology will be critical to support a new hybrid approach to work, in which team members can work either in-person, remotely or from widely dispersed locations. Tech talent employers increased job postings that offer remote working arrangements to 22% for the 12 months ending in April 2022, up from only 6% in April 2020, according to EMSI data. This hybrid approach shows promise to expand tech talent recruitment across all markets and increase workforce diversity.

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