Fewer Women and Minorities Entering IT Workforce

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The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) found in a recent study that racial minorities and women have made few inroads into high-tech careers between 1996 and 2002. The study is based on data found in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Surveys.

 

 

 

According to the report, the percentage of women in the overall IT workforce fell from 41 percent to 34.9 percent between 1996 and 2002. The percentage of African Americans fell from 9.1 percent to 8.2 percent in the same period. The ITAA findings show that these groups are still underrepresented in the IT workforce as compared to their representation in the overall U.S. workforce. Women represented 46.6 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2002, and African Americans made up 10.9 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2002.

 

 

 

According to Harris N. Miller, president of ITAA, the findings are easily explained. “Women and minorities earn significantly fewer undergraduate degrees in computer science and engineering than their representation in the U.S. population,” he said. Miller added that the percentages of women and minorities in the IT workforce are not likely to change significantly until the education system produces more qualified candidates. In fact, the study shows that women earned only 22 percent of computer science and engineering undergraduate degrees in 2000. African Americans earned only 7 percent, Hispanic Americans earned 5 percent, and Native Americans earned 1 percent of these degrees in 2000.

 

 

 

The report shows that Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and Asian Americans made gains in IT. Hispanic Americans went from 5.4 percent to 6.3 percent of the IT workforce between 1996 and 2002, Native Americans went from 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent in the same time period, and Asian Americans jumped from 8.9 percent to 11.8 percent of the IT workforce between 1996 and 2002. Like African Americans and women, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans are underrepresented in the IT workforce compared to their representation in the overall U.S. workforce. Hispanic Americans comprised 12.2 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2002, and Native Americans made up 0.9 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2002. Asian Americans, on the other hand, are almost three times as prevalent in the IT workforce as in the overall U.S. workforce.

 

 

 

For more information on the study, see http://www.itaa.org.

 

 

Emily Hollis is associate editor for Chief Learning Officer Magazine. She can be reached at ehollis@clomedia.com. 

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