Round Rock-based Dell Technologies has joined forces with companies like Intel and Microsoft to increase the number of women of color receiving computing degrees, the company said.
Pivotal Ventures, the investment and incubation company by Melinda Gates and McKinsey & Company, on Wednesday debuted the initiative known as “Reboot Representation Tech Coalition.”
Adobe and Oath also joined the effort, which aims to double the number of underrepresented women of color graduating with computing degrees by 2025.
According to a news release from Brian Reaves, Dell’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, the company is responding to research by Pivotal Ventures that found that on average, only 5 percent of each tech company’s philanthropy goes toward gender diversity in tech and just .1 percent goes toward women of color. The research analyzed contributions from 32 leading tech companies.
Twelve tech companies have committed more than $12 million to the Reboot Representation initiative.
Reaves has focused on improving the pipeline of minority employees in tech since he became the head of diversity and inclusion at Dell a year ago. He’s involved the company in several initiatives, such as Northeastern University’s “ALIGN” program to help minority employees in tech obtain a master’s degree in computer science.
“I view this topic and what we’re doing as important to the future business success of the company as anything we’ll do technologically,” Reaves told the American-Statesman in an interview last month. “It’s not something that’s nice to do. It’s really something one must do.”
The Pivotal Ventures report released Wednesday reinforced what experts have long said can improve the number of underrepresented minorities in tech: Make diversity a budget priority.
A company’s initiatives should be united under an overarching strategy for gender diversity in tech, according to the report. Companies should also have a single person focused on diversity.
An August report by the American-Statesman found that change remains slow within the tech industry, despite promises to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in the workforce.
The analysis, which reviewed the latest data from Austin’s largest tech companies, found that there has not been significant change in the workforce numbers since 2015.
Only two of the companies — National Instruments and Intel — increased the percentage of women in their global workforce in the past year. Accenture, which only published data for its U.S. workforce, also slightly increased its percentage.
Dell’s female workforce technically declined, but that was due to its 2016 merger with data storage firm EMC Corp. When comparing only Dell’s past two years — a more apples-to-apples comparison — the percentage of female workers increased at the company.
Only five tech companies by the American-Statesman released figures on the racial and ethnic makeup of the workforce. AT&T was the only company to match the overall U.S. labor workforce.
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