Jesse Jackson calls for technology diversity

Reverend_Jesse_JacksonUS civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has called on the government to investigate the tech industry’s lack of diversity.

Jackson told USA Today  that the government has a role to play” in ensuring that women and minorities are fairly represented in the tech workforce.

He said the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission needs to examine Silicon Valley’s employment contracts.

Jackson said that the tech industry’s demands for foreign workers need to be silenced after data shows Americans have the skills and should have first access to high-paying tech work.

There was no talent shortage, but an an opportunity shortage and Silicon Valley “far worse” than many others such as car makers that have been pressured by unions.

Tech giants have largely escaped scrutiny by a public dazzled with their cutting-edge gadgets, Jackson said.

Jackson has lobbied nearly two dozen tech companies to disclose hiring data, and about a dozen have done so.

According to the figures, men make up 62 per cent to 70 per cent of the staffs of Twitter, Google, Facebook, Yahoo and LinkedIn, while whites and Asians comprise 88 per cent to 91 per cent.

Their dominance is highest in computer programming and other tech jobs that tend to pay the most.

Jackson said that work equality was the next step in the civil rights movement. Minorities represent a sizable share of tech consumers but not its workers. Of Twitter’s U.S. employees, only 3 per cent are Hispanic and 5 per cent black, but those groups along with Asian Americans account for 41 per cent of its US users.