centage of women and people of
color working in technology in the
United States is less than it was
10 years ago, reports Arlington,
Va.-based Information Technology
Association of America (ITAA).
When this group first reported on
industry demographics, women
accounted for 41 percent of the IT
work force in 1996. In 2004, the
last year for which statistics are
available, that figure dropped to
32. 4 percent. Blacks accounted for
9. 1 percent of the IT work force in
1996 but only 8. 3 percent in 2004.
And while the percentage of
Latinos in the tech labor pool increased 20 percent—from 5. 3 to
6. 4 percent over the same period—the percentage of Latinos in
the overall work force increased
by nearly 36 percent. Only Asians
and Asian Americans increased
their industry representation by a
figure that exceeded their representation in the U.S. labor force.
“Right now, America is competing in the global economy with
one hand tied behind its back,”
says Charlie Greenwald, ITAA’s
communications director. “With
increasing global competition from
countries with work forces that
are potentially much larger than the
U.S., we can’t afford to miss out
on anyone with talent.”
Tapping Our Intellectual Assets
One way to build a pipeline of
more diverse technologists is to
develop more mentors, which
helps both underserved groups
move up the corporate ladder and
companies retain and promote
top talent. With few role models,
they can often view the industry
as lonely and isolated.
For example, Marguerete Luter,
president of Women In Technology,
reports that some members of her
Racial Diversity in the IT Work Force
Black AsianAmerican Latino
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Surveys
Diversity Is AT&T’s Legacy and Future
AT&T has been a national leader in initiatives to
bridge the digital divide and promote supplier-diversity best practices for years.
“Diversity and inclusion are critical components of AT&T’s commitment to deliver the
best products and services to our customers, ”
says Joan Kerr, executive director, AT&T Supplier Diversity Programs.
The company’s commitment to bridging the
digital divide is evident in the numerous pro-
grams it has funded to bring technology train- Joan Kerr
ing, products and services into diverse communities. AT&T and its philanthropic arm, the AT&T Foundation,
recently announced a three-year $100 million initiative,
AT&T AccessAll, to provide Internet and technology access
to underserved communities across the country. This is
the nation’s largest program of its kind.
AT&T is dedicated to ensuring that diverse suppliers are
integrated into its supply chain, spending $2.4 billion with
minority-, women- and disabled-veteran-owned businesses last year alone. In the past decade, AT&T has spent
more than $20 billion with diverse suppliers, representing
18 percent of the company’s total procurement dollars.
“Even with our leading supplier-diversity spending results, we are constantly looking for ways that diverse suppliers can help us deliver the cutting-edge products and
services that our customers want, ” says Kerr.
“Our Chairman and CEO Edward E. Whitacre
pledged that the company will increase its
spending with diversity-owned businesses by
$250 million in the coming year.”
Innovative expansion of procurement opportunities for diverse suppliers is business as
usual at AT&T. In March, AT&T co-chaired
DiversityNEXT within TelecomNEXT, a major industry trade show, to highlight next-generation
opportunities for diversity-owned businesses.
AT&T collaborates with others in the industry to
produce an annual EMS Forum to expand supplier diversity participation with Original Equipment Manufacturers
and Electronic Manufacturing Services companies. The
company also works with multiple agencies to create
breakthrough opportunities for diversity suppliers via its
AT&T’s commitment to diversity extends throughout its
business to its work force, where women comprise 44
percent of managers and people of color comprise 28 percent of all employees.
AT&T Inc. ranked No. 5 on the 2006 DiversityInc Top 10
Companies for Supplier Diversity. For more information
about AT&T’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, visit