Say you're a recruiter at a tech company in Silicon Valley, Boston, or New York City, and you need to hire a new engineer quickly. You don't want to hire another white dude (your company employs so many of them already!). Yet all of the potential referrals you receive are just that: white, male, graduate of a top-10 computer science or engineering university. This makes it terribly hard to break out of the rut of hiring the same people who already dominate the high-tech space.
One San Francisco company is trying to solve this problem by helping recruiters and companies do a better job of identifying a richer, more diverse pool of candidates. The start-up Entelo deploys an algorithm that sorts information already available online to find experienced tech workers for engineering, sales, and marketing positions that pay, on average, $125,000 a year. The service costs anywhere from $10,000 a year up to $100,000. This spring, Entelo rolled out a more detailed feature to allow its clients to search specifically for women, military veterans, Hispanics, or African-Americans. The goal is to help companies "correct the imbalances on their teams," says Jon Bischke, Entelo's founder.
The need for more diversity in the high-tech sector took on renewed urgency recently when Google voluntarily released the diversity stats of its workforce. Among the startling data points: Just 2 percent of the company's workers are African-American and just 3 percent are Hispanic. Whites comprise 61 percent of Google's employees, and 70 percent are men. "Our industry has an issue, and the only way to have an honest conversation about this is to start by actually sharing the facts," Laszlo Bock, Google's senior vice president of people operations said on the PBS NewsHour the same day Google released its internal data.