Recently, Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit for the transformation and economic advancement of the American workforce and education for all, shared results from a survey on more than 1,000 Black Americans that unveiled systemic barriers for Black people seeking careers in technology. Here are some of the findings:
- STEM careers are viewed as out of reach. About 45 percent of those who did not study STEM considered it, but 21 percent believed it would be too challenging while 14 percent believed the cost would be too high for them.
- Gender gap compounds the racial equity gap. Per the survey, most Black Americans working in tech are men between the ages of 16 and 34. Black women are more likely than men to report exiting high school with basic technology skills with no access to advanced opportunities.
- Young Black workers are more likely to see tech as an exclusive sector. Most careers in tech are viewed as well paid, but Black Americans don’t believe they have access to high-earning careers.
- Black workers view mentorship as key to career success, but don’t have access. Almost half of those in the survey had a formal or informal mentor with 77 percent sharing the same race or ethnicity—which has proven to be helpful. However, 55 percent of Black Americans reported never having a career mentor.
The purpose of the survey stems from JFF’s aims to push racial economic equity and boost the amount of Black Americans in profitable careers. Learn more about the survey findings here.