Here are the first results of Open Access Philly's diversity survey - Technical.ly Philly

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Aug. 19, 2019 11:19 am

Here are the first results of Open Access Philly’s diversity survey

Along with community partners, OAP's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Benchmark Survey revealed that the perception of diversity among local tech companies is a lot stronger than practice.
At Philly Startup Leaders’ 2018 Diversity Dinner.

At Philly Startup Leaders' 2018 Diversity Dinner.

(Courtesy photo)

For Technical.ly’s 10-year anniversary, we’re diving deep into the archives for nostalgic, funny or noteworthy updates. This is part of a year-long series.


It’s been a year since Open Access Philly’s (OAP) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Benchmark Survey was released to diagnose diversity issues in the tech community.

In collaboration with Philly Startup Leaders, Guru, Mogulette and Media Bureau, Inc., OAP developed the survey to assess diversity among Philly’s tech community. The idea came after wanting a bigger discussion than just once a year at the Diversity Dinner, now known as A Seat at the Table.

And after 215 responses, we finally have a first diagnosis on Philly tech diversity.

The 36-question survey covers how much time, energy and resources workplaces spend on diversity and inclusion efforts. It also asked basic questions about industry, position, organization/company as well as demographic information.

The results came to three conclusions: Companies still struggle with diversity among leadership; boards aren’t diverse; and there’s a resource gap among diverse business owners.

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Here’s a breakdown in numbers:

  • About a quarter of organizations have a dedicated person, group or initiative to manage internal diversity efforts, aka a diversity officer.
  • About half of respondents said their companies have boards that are more than 25% diverse.
  • Less than 10% of diverse founders looked into certifying their business as diverse suppliers, or knew about the process.

Despite those numbers, 62% of those surveyed thought their organization was spending the right amount of time and energy on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“There’s a perception that the company is doing the right thing,” said OAP cofounder and Stimulus cofounder and COO Paul Wright. “But there’s no actual, fundamental plan and leadership behind it to ensure the right thing is being done.”

OAP actually had a soft release on the data in May. But Wright said the team has been working since on developing working groups and strategies to increase diversity to coincide with the data or “color it with a deeper insight.”

Despite the perception disparities, Wright said one initial reaction to the survey was that companies are thankful to have a vehicle to start discussions of diversity. In turn, that’s helped them assess what to do next.

OAP is still in the works for finding workplace diversity solutions, but Stimulus cofounder and CEO Tiffanie Stanard said it’s important to remember to do more than just diversity events.

“Not everything needs to be separate — it’s just [about] including more diverse voices in those ongoing events and projects,” Stanard said. “What we’re doing is centralizing the information to show what’s working and what’s not working, and it’s OK to try different [solutions].”

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