Overview of Diversity & Inclusion in Washington's STEM Workforce

Issue Overview

Washington is expected to have 160,000 openings per year for STEM jobs beginning in 2020, with 40% of those in computing occupations. Currently the state’s institutions of higher education award about 23,000 STEM (total) degrees and certificates each year. And even looking at the cumulative pipeline, we find that only ~27% of the state’s future STEM job openings will be met by the state’s institutions of higher education, with only 4% of computing jobs met by in-state capacity. The gap between workplace needs and our local talent pipeline is stunning.

At the same time, there’s another gap -  a diversity gap (both for women and underrepresented minorities). The gender gap is not readily evident upstream in the pipeline (based on participation rates in STEM programs and AP Computer Science) but becomes stark in college (with women representing ~35% of computing majors at the University of Washington; this number is <20% at other WA universities) and even worse in the workforce (~20%) and in managerial roles (<10% est.). The data for underrepresented minorities points to even more severe gaps.

Washington state faces both a homegrown supply issue and a diversity imbalance. The good news is that there are dozens of local efforts working to address different components of these issues. To shine light on these various efforts, the Tech Alliance collaborated with Diversity & Inclusion leaders in the community to understand then organize resources below for employers, start-ups, entrepreneurs and the investment community. This is the Tech Alliance's first step toward providing helpful tools and connections for companies and leaders who are making D&I a top priority when it comes to recruiting, hiring, and retaining talent. 

Existing Resources & Efforts in Washington's Diversity & Inclusion Community

The categories below were determined by Tech Alliance to be the primary stages during the hiring process where employers are facing challenges in diversifying then retaining talent. Additionally, given the non-inclusive culture that penetrates many technology-based firms, the resources below are centered around making the business case for a diverse and inclusive hiring pool and workforce. Many leaders in the space contributed to this list and we measured efforts by tangible outcomes, thereby highlighting the models and organizations making the most traction toward change. But we may be missing valuable efforts and organizations. If that is the case, please contact Tech Alliance and we will be sure to include.