Nearly half of tech employees experience racist workplace abuse, survey finds

New concerns have been raised about racism in the tech industry, after research found tech employees were twice as likely to experience racist abuse at work as those in other sectors.

A Censuswide poll found that nearly half of those surveyed in the tech industry, 43%, had experienced racism in the workplace, compared to just 15% of staff in non-tech sectors.

It comes as UK businesses come under increasing pressure to hire more people from black and ethnic minorities following an upsurge in support for the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. In March, a government-commissioned review found that only about half of the companies in the FTSE 250 have minority ethnic representation on their boards.

Representation doesn’t appear to be as big an issue among tech workers surveyed, with 50% saying they have a manager who identifies as an ethnic minority, which is above the average for non-industry. technology by only 28%.

But the poll of more than 2,000 UK workers also found that a significant proportion think companies have stepped up their marketing around racial equality after the death of George Floyd in an “inauthentic” way. That jumps to 54% for those working in tech and 63% for workers who identify as Black.

Antoine Argouges, chief executive of activist investor Tulipshare, which commissioned the research, said: “It’s one thing for tech companies to commit to hiring people from underrepresented groups, it’s another to have a culture that promotes diversity, civil rights and racial equity.

“Tech companies are some of the most innovative companies on the planet, so it’s entirely possible to make tangible improvements in diversity. It is also the responsibility of investors to incite change, after all, this is linked to increased productivity, innovation and performance.

Tulipshare hopes to put pressure on software giant Salesforce, in which it owns a stake, at its June 8 general meeting. Investors will vote on whether the company should conduct an independent audit of its impact on civil rights, equity, diversity and inclusion.

The proposal was submitted following what Tulipshare calls the company’s failures, after two senior employees resigned from Salesforce, referring to social media to cite a “toxic environment” and “dishonest marketing around the ‘equality”.

He also pointed to Salesforce’s diversity numbers, with the number of black employees in the US Salesforce workforce only increasing by 2.3 percentage points, and Hispanic and Latino representation only increasing. by 1.1% over a six-year period, bringing the figures to 4.3% and 5.1%. % respectively. It comes after Salesforce set a goal in 2016 to have 50% of its U.S. workforce made up of underrepresented groups by 2023.

Financial News contacted Salesforce for comment.

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