Money & Business

Massachusetts Tech Group: Women, Minorities Left Behind as Industry Grows

By / May 19, 2016 (iStock/Thinkstock)

New research from the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council argues that the state’s tech industry is doing better than many others on the diversity front but that it still has a ways to go. The council says improving diversity could prove a major differentiator for the economic center of New England.

In Massachusetts, the technology economy is surging. There’s a problem, though: More than three-quarters of the state’s new tech jobs are going to men.

That’s according to new research from the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, a trade group focused on the state’s innovation economy. MassTLC reports that of the 17,000 new jobs created in the Massachusetts technology industry between 2007 and 2014, just 4,000 of them—24 percent—went to women.

And the disparities are more pronounced when you move beyond gender, according to the “State of the Technology Economy 2016” report [PDF].

“[I]t’s not just women who are struggling to gain traction in the tech industry,” the report says. “Combined, Latinos and African Americans make up only 8 percent of computer and mathematical workers, while whites comprise 72 percent, which is consistent with statewide averages but under-representative of the makeup of the Massachusetts population.”

Massachusetts’ gender breakdown in the tech industry is better than that of many other states, ranking fifth overall, and the council gave a nod to organizations working to correct the demographic imbalance.  It cited its own educational foundation, which supports a global tech competition for middle school and high school girls, and initiatives by local companies and nonprofits to mentor and recruit underrepresented populations.

Still, the council urged the state’s tech companies to do more, encouraging them to take part in diversity efforts such as Innovation Women, a startup that MassTLC partnered with last year.

“It’s hard to go up against states that are dramatically bigger and have larger markets. They don’t have to grow as fast to take advantage of the same opportunities,” MassTLC CEO Tom Hopcroft told the Boston Globe. “If we want to dominate economically and capture the next technology wave and lead that, we really need to be firing on all cylinders and have all of the talent at the table.”

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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