In honor of Women’s History Month, we wanted to take a moment to recognize the incredible women on our team who work hard everyday to make real estate transactions more delightful for everyone involved. We’re proud to say that our team is 60% women, which is far above the average in our industry.
Although tech is known for product innovations, it’s faltered at implementing diverse and inclusive workplaces. To us, this deficit is unacceptable and a block to innovation and progress. But, we think the best way to start dealing with inequities is to both surface the conversation and talk about why diversity and inclusion makes us a stronger team.
As of 2016, the total percentage of women in the workforce has grown to 46.8%, but the number in tech still lags behind. According to data collected from top tech firms such as Netflix, Uber, Microsoft, and Amazon, women make up between 27-47% of the total workforce at these companies. This average drops considerably if you only account for “professional computing occupations,” of which only 26% were held by women in the 2017 U.S. workforce.
Women of color make up an even smaller portion of the computing workforce, represented at: 3% African American, 5 % Asian, and 1% Hispanic in 2017, according to a report by the National Center for Women & Information Technology.
Since 1990, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) employment has grown 79% and computer jobs have seen a meteoric increase of 338%. Women have made strides and make up about 50% of all STEM workers, but are primarily represented in healthcare and life and physical sciences.
Unfortunately, the share of women has actually gone down 7% in the area with the largest job growth over this period: computer occupations, including computer scientists, systems analysts, software developers, information systems managers and programmers.
One of the largest barriers to entry is the advanced degree needed to enter many STEM occupations, particularly computer-related jobs. Although in recent years, bootcamps and foundations such as girls who code, Lesbians Who Tech, and Hackbright have been launching programs and scholarships aimed at getting more women and minority populations into tech—based on the numbers above there’s still a considerable way to go.
Another barrier to diverse teams is the allure to move quickly, which tends to manifest as hiring homogenous populations as you work to scale. If a company and industry don’t make diversity and inclusion important from the outset, it’s harder to make it a priority later down the line. As company culture solidifies with each new hire, diverse groups of individuals are less likely to come on board to companies where they don’t see themselves already represented. Certainly not impossible and definitely not an excuse to keep the status quo, but this is why Spruce made it an important part of our mission from the very beginning.
Part of Spruce’s mission is to be intentionally diverse, because we believe a wide range of thought promotes a more respectful working environment, complex discussion, problem solving, and—ultimately—better products.
Rethinking a 150-year-old industry like title insurance is no easy feat, and we knew that we needed a diverse, resourceful, ambitious, and curious team to reach our goals. Personally, we’re proud of the strides we’ve made toward being a more diverse and inclusive workforce over the past two years, and professionally, the ROI (return on investment) of focusing on these initiatives is clear as we look toward the future.
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