Washington Technology Industry Association Launches Ambitious 'Anti-Racism in Tech Pact'

Nationwide effort seeks to promote diversity and overhaul hiring practices
Updated: Mon, 11/16/2020 - 13:57
 
 
  • Nationwide effort seeks to promote diversity and overhaul hiring practices
Michael Schutzler

The Washington Technology Industry Association has launched a wide-reaching campaign to address systemic racism in the tech industry.

The "Anti-racism in Tech Pact" already includes more than 50 companies and organizations, including Verizon, Lyft and AT&T, as well as as well as the University of Washington and the Washington Department of Commerce. 

By 2025, the pact promises that these organizations will curtail racism and microaggressions in the workplaces, overhaul “current hiring practices” and diversify organizational structures to reflect the populations where they operate. 

The WTIA, a Seattle-based nonprofit trade organization, will also begin building a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office for members of the pact. The pact is open to companies across the country. 

Around 4.6 million new tech industry jobs were created in 2019, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the tech sector employs less than half as many Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) as other sectors in the country. 

A 2017 study by The Kapor Center for Social Impact found that tech workers of color often receive lower compensation and face hostile work environments, leading to a high turnover rate. 

“We have a clear vision for dismantling racism in the technology industry, but we must first gain the trust of BIPOC communities,” says Michael Schutzler, chief executive officer of the WTIA. “This pact takes a first step to gaining that trust by committing signatories to sharing resources and firm goals around the diversity of their teams over a five-year period.”

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