56% of Black people in tech felt unable to negotiate salary

black people in tech, colourintech
© Fizkes

Data from Colourintech and Meta shows that 56% of Black people in tech feel unable to negotiate a fair salary – while 75% of white respondents feel empowered in doing so

In 2020, many businesses across the world made commitments to furthering racial equality post-George Floyd – as Black Lives Matter activism led the way to a collective realisation of contemporary racism, across all sectors.

While promises to change the power dynamics acting against racial minorities were widespread, what were the outcomes of those commitments?

The UK Tech Workplace Equality Report finds that just 3% of UK tech workers identify as Black.

Did companies deliver meaningful change for racial minorities?

For some people, wage negotiation is a discreet but critical element of beginning a new job. For others, accessing the opportunity of the job itself is a tenuous thing. While the wage gap is a problem between genders, it also exists between different races.

According to recent research, 56% of Black people in tech didn’t feel empowered to negotiate their salary. This figure contrasts sharply against 75% of white respondents, who said they felt comfortable negotiating a fair salary.

Colourintech, working with Meta, found that Black students and professionals face many barriers when advancing in the tech industry. To figure this out, the research team looked at 2,000 individuals in tech – asking questions about finding a job, getting hired, advancing and being supported in their careers.

They found that while diversity programmes exist in some organisations, the overwhelming majority of Black people in tech faced barriers when getting into the industry. 65% of Black tech professionals said they felt this way.

Lack of training strategy for Black people in tech, despite hiring push

Saloni Shah, a student at Imperial College London in MSc Strategic Marketing, said: “Navigating the world of tech-from the kind of roles available, skills required to even not knowing from where to start and also the lack of confidence as I didn’t see a lot of people who ‘looked’ like me being in this industry.”

In the findings, it seemed that Black people in tech were the least likely to be satisfied with their current role, while people of white origin were 20% more likely to be satisfied.

It seems that some diversity programmes led to recruitment of Black tech professionals, without a substantial development plan for the new hires. This, while well-meaning, can lead to a stagnant work environment – as individuals are hired to create a diverse employee roster, with not enough thought put into how to develop their talents.

How do employees respond to racial barriers in tech?

In some cases, gender parity in tech is on the rise. But for those facing the double-minority status of being Black and female, racial equality is not as close to hand.
Facing barriers appears to be a common experience. For some, this is a chance to re-educate their teams. For others, educating their colleagues is not plausible, which leads them to seek employment elsewhere.
A Solutions Architect at Meta said: “I try to be as optimistic as possible and try to educate my circles whenever I can. I also count on my direct team and manager.”

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