Social, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Computing Minority Persons in IT Workplace

Social, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Computing: Minority Persons in IT Workplace

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Introduction

In the information and technology industry, several minority groups remain highly underrepresented regardless of the efforts by governments and technology industry players to attain equal representation. The minority workforce in the technology industry includes women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), and minority ethnic groups. In the United State in 2019, the workforce comprising of females was 25.8 percent of the total population and 8.7 percent for minority ethnicity in the information technology industry. The underrepresented minorities have a tiny portion of the workforce in the senior levels in the tech industry. Information technology has a high potential of improving people’s life and simplifying work. However, like many industries, it has not incorporated an inclusive workforce, thus raising various social, ethical, and professional issues to the workforce and public members using technology. The paper aims to explore social, professional, and ethical issues faced by minority workers in the technology industry.

Ethical Issues

The Tech industry workforce is mainly comprised of male workers. Women are not employed in most information technology companies because females are viewed as not having the necessary skills and not capable of doing technical jobs. LGBT, like in most industries they are also not employed in technology companies since most company’s internal ethical culture does not accept their culture among their employees. Furthermore, most tech companies’ people of color are not employed or given equal opportunities like the majority race in most countries (McGee, 2018). These practices in the industry continue to divide people more other than uniting. A diverse workforce is an ethical practice and increases a firm’s performance. The behavior towards the minority workforce in the information technology industry is unethical and does not align with the country’s ideal of equal employment.

Social Issues

In the past years, tech industries have been working to attain a more diverse workforce, but the initiative has not worked since not much difference felt in the industry. Non-inclusivity is worse in women of color, only making about eight percent of the workforce in the tech industry and almost none in senior leadership levels. Non-diversity in the technology industry is not only in the established technology industry but also in startups. To make a permanent shift, more time, effort, and determination are needed, and all the parties involved to work together. More women and people of color are graduating with degrees, but they have not been hired; thus, the disinformation that no enough women with information technology degrees is not true. Most companies are reluctant to hire people of color, explaining that they cannot lower their bar, implying that they are less qualified.

Furthermore, when the minority workforce is hired, it regularly faces a hostile environment. The minority workers, women, racial minorities, and LGBT experience bias while working in technology firms. Due to this biasness, hostility from colleagues, and isolation, about 52 percent of women leave their employment. These resignations worsen the number of women in the technology industry since they are the minority (Heilman and Caleo, 2018). The negative impacts of biasness in the technology industry are currently being experienced. For example, most facial recognition software easily recognizes white faces, but people with dark skin cannot be identified consistently. If these technologies are used by the police department, resulting in unfair outcomes as the wrong people are arrested. Gender inequality and racial discrimination are the major challenges faced by minority people in the information technology industry.

Professional Issues

In the information technology department, minority groups are discriminated against compared with another workforce in the industry. Discrimination is demonstrated by the different treatment the minority people are given while at work. Recruitment methods used are one of the discriminations done to the minority employees in the technology industry. When recruiting ethnic minorities, IT firms target specific universities or conduct recruitment on specific days where only qualified applicants are invited. Most technology firms’ recruitment is done through word of mouth, mostly through current employees. The minority group like the ethnic minority, disabled, and LGBT with no representation among workers are excluded. Also, selection and shortlisting criteria disadvantage minority groups since most companies select and shortlist employees working at the senior level. The minority people are most likely not to be in these positions.

Similarly, the judgment of performance is also a professional challenge facing minority workers in the IT industry (Trauth, 2017). The minority employees are judged by their capabilities before delivering the assigned task. In most cases, they are judged negatively. Also, when solving issues involving marginalized races, employees will opt to solve them in formal way, even in instances where the issues are minor and informal methods are applicable. When disciplinary are pronounced, senior employers already have a negative attitude towards minority groups. Hence, they do not offer them opportunities to collect their behavior. Additionally, workers working in the technology industry are not supported by the organization’s leadership. IT workers should receive frequent training to ensure they are updated with emerging technology. Discrimination and judgment towards minority groups are the professional problems facing IT industries. These behaviors lower employee’s morale hence affecting their performance and others seeking other alternative employment where working is more comfortable.

However, firms in the information technology industry are operating in such a highly dynamic and competitive environment; hence they are changing their social, ethical, and professional behavior. Firms in technology are diversifying their workforce and employing minority persons. Users of technology products are driving these changes through boycotting firms that are not inclusive. Moreover, IT firms’ employees are ready for the organizational changes hence making it easy for IT firms to recruit a diverse workforce. Unethical practices of hiring men, and especially white men, will in the future be eradicated, and technology organizations have an all-inclusive workforce.

Discrimination in information technology has affected society as much as it has affected the industry’s performance. Most products produced in industries that are not inclusive have resulted in arresting and shooting the wrong suspect by the police. Cameras used to recognize faces by police do not function appropriately because they are not designed to be inclusive. Technology firms are currently educating their employees on the importance of incorporating a diverse workforce. Also, firms ensure the majority of employees do not defame the characters of minor employees to ensure workers do not relocate to other industries. Furthermore, companies are eradicating discrimination, ensuring workers are not stratified into social groups rich versus the poor.

Technology companies are currently hiring workforce through outsourcing third party or use of computers to help in shortlisting qualified workforce. Using computers to recruit has helped technology companies to eradicate discrimination based on race or gender. Applicants are recruited and promoted based on qualification. Similarly, technology firms are promoting professionalism through training the minority people in their workforce. This training enables employees to learn new skills and allows them to put input when discussing innovation and new developments (Sargolzaei, Nikbakht, 2017). Minority employees are currently promoted to senior levels in technology companies and allowed to attend conferences. Such practices towards minorities promote professional growth among them hence solving professional challenges experienced in these companies. Also, companies are solving the conflict in more professional ways. For instance, minority employees are given opportunities for their cases to be heard and determined appropriately, reasonably, and transparently. Warnings are given to them other than discharging them from their work.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is rather noted that a majority of technology companies are monopolistic; hence changes to ensure the working environment is ethical, socially acceptable, and professionalism cannot be highly influenced by regulators and consumers. Discrimination of employees is based on race or gender is still in most companies due to the fact it’s a culture that has to be there for a decade, and to eradicate it will need more time. In most companies, it is easy for the senior employee to recruit their friends who will judge and give minor employees a hostile working environment. In the end, many of the contemporary IT computing companies continue to have social, ethical, and professional challenges.

References

Heilman, M. E., & Caleo, S. (2018). Gender discrimination in the workplace.

McGee, K. (2018). The influence of gender, and race/ethnicity on advancement in information technology (IT). Information and Organization, 28(1), 1-36.

Sargolzaei, E., & Nikbakht, M. (2017). The Ethical and Social Issues of Information Technology: A Case Study. International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications, 8(10), 138-146.

Trauth, E. (2017). A research agenda for social inclusion in information systems. ACM SIGMIS Database: the Database for Advances in Information Systems, 48(2), 9-20.