Problem 1: Information Disadvantage


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Early career growth for Black tech talent is hindered by limited insight into career planning, including how to seek and land new roles and opportunities, and which networks of influence are essential for growth.

In the early years, Black tech professionals often suffer because they do not get good insight or advice on the practical considerations of moving from one level to another. Blind spots around the importance of building a network are particularly common at this stage. We looked at differences in perspectives on this among Black and non-Black tech talent with 20 years of experience or less. While 78 percent of non-Black tech professionals told us that they know that you must know the people with the roles/opportunities to get an interview, just 56 percent of the Black tech talent told us the same. Similarly, 57 percent of non-Black talent agrees that they find out about roles through their network rather than the organization, but just 39 percent of Black talent say the same. In short, more non-Black tech professionals have been let-in on the knowledge that building a network matters. The relative lack of awareness amongst their Black peers is a problem. As one tech start-up CEO put it, “your network is your net worth” in the technology industry, while another Black senior leader we spoke to said “We need to make the next generation more aware. There is a game to be played and the field is not level. Like me, I wasn’t aware of some of those steps I could take or have anyone sharing those roadmaps with me. We can do a better job to unearth our knowledge and socialize that down to recent grads”.

Black tech talent starting out in the industry have less insight into the way roles and opportunities are sought and rewarded than their non-Black peers

% agreement that "you must be in the network of those with the opportunity/role in order to be invited to interview"

% agreement that

Base: n=307 Black technology professionals, n=71 non-Black technology professionals 

This lack of insight contributes to a self-limiting mindset for what the best pathways in tech could be. Those we spoke to who were earlier in their careers often talked about their ultimate goal being just one to two rungs up the ladder ahead of where they sit today. When speaking to more tenured professionals, we learned that this was common for them in the early days of their careers as well. It was not until they reached mid-level management positions that they realized there were much bigger opportunities that they had the skills and potential to work towards in the tech world. As one focus group member commented, “I had built my career around being the best in the department, the best on the team.” Over time, he realized he was limiting his own prospects beyond his current role, and progressing slower than others. “I was underselling my value.” 

In the guidance, we expand upon the sponsorship that is required from tech leaders to Black talent to close the gap on   access to needed insight, networks and opportunities

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Problem 2: Higher Standards, Lower Ceilings
Problem 3: Unequal Access to Essential Experiences




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Shaping the Future of Leadership for Black Tech Talent