New CompTIA Think Tank Takes Aim at Tech Workforce Diversity
CompTIA just launched its Center for Tech Workforce Solutions (CTWS), the culmination of much effort to address the topic of diversity, careers and the technology workforce.
The new think tank is tasked with expanding and diversifying the technology workforce by getting out the message that everyone should consider a career in technology, regardless of background and level of education.
This is just the latest such move at CompTIA. At the beginning of 2017, the organization announced the acquisition of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP). By August, its promise to build a new organization – CompTIA AITP – came to fruition. CompTIA AITP is a support and advocacy organization that set out to attract and develop the workforce of the 21st century economy. Around that time, CompTIA established the Advancing Diversity in Technology Community, tasked with supporting and promoting workforce diversity throughout the tech industry.
“One of the greatest challenges to the global economy is the future of the workforce. We face monumental challenges, real and imagined. Too many Americans think a tech career is out of their reach,” said David Hyman, president of the CTWS. “Our goal is to demonstrate that it is not.”
The initial focus of the new Center for Tech Workforce Solutions is to work with the industry, educators, government and nonprofits with two goals in mind. The first is to overcome the so-called “confidence gap,” a barrier that leads to many Americans not pursuing a tech career, because they don’t believe they have the skills, weren’t encouraged to do so, or never considered it because they don’t have a family connection or mentor that makes a technology career seem attainable.
The second goal is to demonstrate that technology careers are available to any American, regardless of education or skill level. This effort will particularly focus on showing tech pathways for high school graduates.
Prior to launching CTWS, CompTIA did some research. It explored challenges and opportunities facing the technology industry across the country. CompTIA did two online surveys — one of 1,000 Americans ages 18-34, focused on the “confidence gap”; and another of more than 2,000 Americans focused on perceptions of whether the tech industry “looks like” them.
Some CTWS research findings:
- Seven in 10 Americans ages 18-34 cite confidence as a factor that contributes to discouragement, which might hinder someone taking the first step toward a career in technology. Those who said they would consider technology as a career report receiving encouragement at significantly higher rates than those that have not (74 percent vs.18 percent).
- Among the 18-34 age group, men were much more likely to report receiving encouragement to pursue a tech career. Fifty-four percent of men said they were encouraged, compared to just 38 percent of women.
- Two in 5 Americans don’t believe that tech workers look like them. Digging deeper finds that a gender gap exists. While 52 percent of men said tech workers look like them, only 33 percent of females said the same.
- Popular culture and media contribute to reinforcing technology as a career for men. Only slightly more than one in three Americans (38 percent) said popular culture and the media portray technology as a career for women (6 percent) or a career for both men and women (32 percent). A majority (55 percent) said they portray technology as just a career for men.
- Many Americans don’t have a strong family connection to a technology career. Thirty-five percent said they don’t have either an immediate family member (such as a parent or sibling) or non-immediate family member (such as an aunt or uncle) who works in a technology career.
As it pursues its goals, CTWS and CompTIA will work together.