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The value of diversity in the tech workforce

diversity2Stimulated by Google’s release of its workforce diversity statistics, USA Today describes the generally dismal under-representation of women and minorities in the tech workforce.

UW CSE’s Ed Lazowska is quoted on the importance:

“Doing so isn’t about window dressing. It actually makes it a better and more profitable company, says Ed Lazowska, a professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.

“‘Engineering (particularly of software) is a hugely creative endeavor. Greater diversity – more points of view – yields a better result,’ he said.”

Here is what Lazowska actually said to the reporter, in an email exchange:

“Google’s willingness to publish these less-than-rosy statistics reflects wonderfully well on the company and on its commitment to increasing the diversity of its workforce. A company that didn’t care deeply about the issue probably wouldn’t collect this data, and certainly wouldn’t put it on the web for all to see.

“Under-representation of women and minorities is a long-standing problem in the tech industry. All of us have been working extremely hard to turn this around, and progress is being made. It’s not only a matter of social equity, or of staffing. Engineering (particularly of software) is a hugely creative endeavor. Greater diversity – more points of view – yields a better result.

“Kudos to Google.”

Read USA Today‘s version here.

June 1, 2014