NEWS12 November 2021

Data and analytics making positive strides to improve ethnic diversity

Inclusion News North America

US – More than 70% of people entering the US data and analytics industry in their first role are from ethnic minorities, according to the State of Diversity in Data and Analytics 2021/2022  report.

People from different ethnic backgrounds on Zoom call, representing diversity in the workplace

The study, which involved 4,600 respondents, was undertaken by data and analytics recruitment agency Harnham. However, the report warns against complacency and urges organisations to up the ante on their diversity and inclusion initiatives over the next 12 months and more.  

Businesses must work especially hard to improve equality of representation, says Harnham, pointing out that Black and African American individuals account for 12% of the US population, but only three per cent of data & analytics professionals. Similarly, Hispanic and Latinx professionals only represent six per cent of the industry, while making up 19 per cent of the country’s population.  

Asian Americans, meanwhile, are well represented, making up significantly more of the industry than they do of the country as a whole – 30 per cent vs six per cent. Indian Americans account for nearly half of this group and 12 per cent of the industry. 

The report highlights that further up the seniority ladder there is a clear decline in the percentage of people of colour in the industry. From 56 per cent of entry-level professionals, this nearly halves to just 30 per cent of vice-presidents and those with a similar job title.

Harnham chief executive David Farmer commented: “The past few years have seen the conversation around diversity in the world of tech move to the forefront, with the last 18 months shining a light on the reoccurring issues that impact how inclusive the industry can be.    

“Fortunately, there have been silver linings during this period too. For instance, increased access to remote and flexible working has provided a wider range of opportunities to a broader demographic of people. It is now incumbent upon the industry to continue to offer these ways of working to ensure that the progress made in the past year isn't lost.” 

The report also explores women in data. Here, the picture is mixed when it comes to leadership: while there is still a general decline in numbers, there are a few increases along the way, both in mid-level and VP-level roles. 

“We are thrilled to see some positive progress made towards improving diversity in data and analytics,” said Sadie St Lawrence, founder and chief executive of Women in Data. “However, our work is not done. The results of this year’s report invigorate our mission to increase diversity in data careers, especially for women, through awareness, education and advancement.”