Tech workforce coalition Baltimore Tracks released the first edition of what its leaders say will be an annual report on diversity, equity and inclusion using data self-reported from 19 of its founding member companies.
With the report, Baltimore Tracks aims to put a number to dynamics that people in the Baltimore tech industry know anecdotally, while establishing a baseline for improvement on DEI with the members as a whole.
The goal for steering committee member and EcoMap Technologies COO Sherrod Davis is clear: Raise the proportion of Black employees in the member organizations, which is roughly 7%, to something more reflective of the city as a whole. Baltimore City is about 63% Black, per the latest US Census data.
“We always talk about in business: measure what matters. That’s what we’re trying to do here,” Davis told Technical.ly. Baltimore Tracks is seeking to present the data as it is, offering a point from which to improve. “I understand this is really hard and we’re trying to move mountains here…But I think getting in the right habits will really lead to impactful change down the road.”
Fellow steering committee member Michael Castagnola agrees.
The goal, the chief of staff at Baltimore software development consultancy SmartLogic said, is to “get more local folks, get more local people of color into tech and make those opportunities available.”
Here are a few more key insights from the report:
- White and Asian employees are over-represented in Baltimore tech when compared to the demographics of the city. Tech is 67% white and 14% Asian, while the city as a whole is 32% white and 3% Asian.
- 70% percent of employees are under the age of 40.
- Only 4% of the workforce did not have a bachelor’s degree, or higher.
“The point of the report is not so much that Baltimore Tracks collects this data,” said Davis. “The point of this is that companies get into the habit of tracking the data themselves so that they can make actionable decisions on diversity, equity and inclusion.”
For some companies in Baltimore Tracks, this was the first time an audit on DEI had been done. The public release of the report focuses on the demographic data, but each company got more qualitative data from answers to questions like, “Are employees able to be authentic?” and “Are employees judged fairly?” Companies can also use those takeaways to build towards being more equitable organizations.
“Everybody is in a different place on their journey towards hopefully building a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization,” said Castagnola of the 19 member companies that were signed on to Baltimore Tracks when the survey went out. “It was a part of a first step on a journey. A lot of companies are clamoring for more resources and figuring out how to take additional actions to utilize the data effectively.”Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
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