Is diversity in computing jobs improving?

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Note: As of September 2020, this post contains outdated language or graphics referencing “underrepresented minorities.” To see our current language policy around race, ethnicity, and gender, see this support article.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, yes, but very slowly. We’ve analyzed the Current Population Survey data from the past few years to see how many people are employed in computing occupations, and the percentage of women, Black/African American, and Hispanic/Latino employees.

What did we find? There are about 5 million people employed in computing occupations, 24% of whom are women, and 15% of whom are Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino.

Since 2014, the trends in representation, although small, have been moving in the right direction — all three groups showed a tiny increase in representation. However, changes would need to accelerate significantly to reach meaningful societal balance in our lifetimes. If the current pace of increases continue, it would take over a century* until we saw balanced representation in computing careers.

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We hope to see these numbers improve faster. In classrooms, the majority of our students are girls or underrepresented minorities. As our students make their way through the university system and into the workforce, we hope they can change the face of computing.

See our full analysis here.

Katie Hendrickson,

*For women, the increase in representation was 0.6 points over 3 years. At this rate, to go from 24.4% to 50% would take 128 years. For Black/African American + Hispanic/Latino populations, the increase was 1.2 points over 3 years. To go from 15.5% to about 30% would take 36 years.

For this analysis, we defined computing occupations using the BLS SOC codes for Computer Occupations (15–1100, which contains multiple sub-codes), Computer and Information Systems Managers (11–3021), and Computer Hardware Engineers (17–2061). [In other analyses, we also include Postsecondary Computer Science Teachers (25–1021), but the Current Population Survey does not provide data for this sub-code.] Find out more about computing occupations in our source document here.

Written by® is dedicated to expanding access to computer science increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups.

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