Tech Employees Think Their Companies Are More Diverse Than They Actually Are

A new report looks at how employees feel about companies’ diversity initiatives, the fate of diversity under Trump, and more.

Tech Employees Think Their Companies Are More Diverse Than They Actually Are
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Recently, a spate of companies in the tech industry decided to delay reporting on their progress toward making their workforces more diverse and inclusive. Others are still doggedly transparent, even if their gains have been incremental. One thing is missing: how the employees feel about the initiatives.


Atlassian’s 2017 State of Diversity Report aims to find that out. The company surveyed more than 1,400 tech workers across the U.S. to take a look at how workers perceive change, especially with regards to the current presidential administration.

More than one-third of tech workers​ surveyed fear the administration will hinder their company’s diversity efforts. However, nearly half (48%) of workers said the election made them care more about diversity.

That’s important because the majority of respondents (57%) ranked individuals ahead of companies as having the most potential to impact diversity and inclusion.

However, an overwhelming number of respondents believe that the tech industry in general and their companies and teams in particular are already doing a good job on diversity. Eighty-three percent say their company is already diverse, and 79% think the average team at their company has a diverse set of team members. But the tech industry numbers don’t support that belief. Atlassian’s report includes estimates of the actual tech industry makeup that shows just 2% are black, 3% Latin, and less than a quarter (24%) identify as female.

As Atlassian’s global head of diversity and inclusion Aubrey Blanche notes, “While people may be well intentioned, we clearly have a ways to go in educating workers on what diversity means and ‘looks like’ to help them identify areas of improvement within their own companies.”

Related: Why So Many Diversity Programs Fail

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a business journalist writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, commerce, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.