In the wake of rising racial tensions of recent years especially due to several cases of police brutality based on race particularly in the West, there has been an inadvertent impact in the tech industry. A pivotal point occurred in 2020, during the pandemic when the world watched videos of the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery and the death of George Floyd and there was no longer denying the depth in which racial injustice has been woven into fabrics of society.
Since then, discussions have intensified regarding the lack of diversity in the workplace and the racial bias in the technology that is built as a result of this deficit. Based on reports, the technology industry is predominantly White accounting for 68-75% of the people hired in most countries in the global west - the USA, and the UK, New Zealand amongst others. When we then throw in other variables such as gender diversity and other equal opportunity or inclusion parameters, we start to see how worrisome this picture is.
To put it in perspective, for every 10 people hired in tech, 7 of them are White. This is an alarming figure because if we take into consideration that most of the technology that is used around the world is built by teams of White men, it is easy to deduce why and how the everyday technology we use perpetuates racism, sexism, discrimination, and the gender wage gap. This is not to say that all White people in the technology are racist but if products are built and tested based on the experiences, specifications, and physical attributes of a certain group of people, then the products will react accordingly and against anything that is different to the source input. Thus, the reason we observe that some software do not recognize visual inputs of Black, indigenous, and people of color.
Therefore, in order to nip this in the bud, it is imperative that companies are held accountable- that recruitment is truly non-discriminatory and unbiased- that when we say “equal opportunity” or “diversity”, it’s not just about lip service and doing the bare minimum to avoid public backlash. For this to happen, people have to be more cognizant of the diversity and inclusivity of the companies in which they work. As much as we can observe rising levels of consciousness with regard to all things diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond, there is also a need for this to be quantifiable and easily comparable across the board.
Plexus is a software product that tackles this problem headlong by allowing companies to publish their diversity and inclusion data alongside their job vacancies and news about the companies’ strides in tackling discrimination and encouraging diversity and inclusion. This provides candidates with sufficient information they require to make decisions regarding where they choose to work.
At Alta Labs, we believe in technology but we also believe that technology should have more brilliant Black, Indigenous, People of Color because we have more to offer and are convinced that better technology can be built and shipped if products are built with an array of different perspectives taken into account. This is why we felt honored when approached to build the product on behalf of The Plug - a subscription-based news and insights company that covers innovation in the black community in the United States.
Product Core features
The Plexus product includes the following features:
- Company metadata consisting of diversity and inclusion data on race, age, gender, education, and many more data sets
- Company D&I report publishing on a yearly basis
- Companies can post and edit job vacancies
- Candidates can follow companies and save job openings
- Candidates’ ability to apply for specific roles as published by companies
- Candidates can view and compare two or more companies’ diversity and inclusion reports to make informed decisions.
By Celestine Omin
Diversity and Inclusion today aren’t just mere buzz words. They are part and parcel of our everyday life and to a large extent, they dictate a lot of what’s happening around the world.
Plexus is personal to us, having dealt with a racial profiling issue myself and understanding the psychological effect of it, it was a no-brainer for us to take on this project.
Plexus is a unique, first of its kind tool that we believe will elevate the state for what the DEI(Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) reporting should look like.
Companies now have a structured way to report their DEI efforts for better accountability and transparency.
What We Delivered
Alta Labs delivered a full product suite for the Plexus project comprising of the following:
- A web application for the company side that allows the companies to post and edit D& I data, publish yearly reports and so many more
- A web application for the candidates to search for companies, compare companies’ D& I reports, view news updates on companies’ stance against discrimination.
- Admin portal that allows The Plug staff to view and authorize company report updates, view user activity, and much more.
- A business intelligence tool that allows The Plug to analyze the site data and performance of all three software applications.