Technology workers leaving their jobs due to 'unfairness' creates a $16 billion problem

Kapor claims bullying, stereotyping, sexual harassment and racial bias in the workplace cost the tech industry billions per year due to turnover.
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Recent research conducted by the Kapor Center for Social Impact reveals that "unfairness" is why many technology workers leave their workplace for another.

Kapor claims to be the first to examine how common bullying, stereotyping, sexual harassment, and racial bias is in the tech workplace, and what it concludes is that unfairness-based turnover in tech is a $16B a year problem.

“Diversity in tech matters—for innovation, for product development, for profits, for meeting future workforce demands, and for closing economic and wealth gaps. But unfairness, in the form of everyday behavior (stereotyping, harassment, bullying, etc.) is a real and destructive part of the tech work environment, particularly affecting underrepresented groups and driving talent out the door,” Kapor found.

The researchers offer ways to improve the situation.

“With a concentrated focus on building inclusive workplace cultures, tech can save billions of dollars in financial and reputational costs, keep great talent, and finally make progress on its diversity numbers.”

[Also: All-male corporate boards: Brace for disruption.]

The Tech Leavers Study is a national study that examines why people voluntarily left their jobs in tech. The Kapor Center for Social Impact and Harris Poll surveyed a nationally-representative sample of U.S. adults who have left a job in a technology-related industry or function within the last three years.

While people leave their jobs for a variety of reasons, from the desire to seek career advancement or greater pay to a shorter commute or a change of careers, we found that unfair treatment is the single largest driver of turnover affecting all groups, and most acutely affects underrepresented professionals. 

There is a high cost to bad culture, the study’s authors point out, and this is a self-inflicted wound.

Employees indicated that improving workplace culture can improve retention. Sixty-two percent of all employees would have stayed if their company had taken steps to create a more positive and respectful work environment. Fifty-seven percent would have stayed if their company had taken steps to make the company culture more fair and inclusive.

“Diversity in tech matters – for innovation, for product development, for profits, for meeting future workforce demands, and for closing economic and wealth gaps, researchers conclude.

But unfairness, in the form of everyday behavior (stereotyping, harassment, bullying, etc.) is a real and destructive part of the tech work environment, particularly affecting underrepresented groups and driving talent out the door,” they found. “With a concentrated focus on building inclusive workplace cultures, tech can save billions of dollars in financial and reputational costs, keep great talent, and finally make progress on its diversity numbers.”

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com


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