WELCOME TO THE NORTHWEST PAPERS #2: Creating Quality Jobs for All in Washington’s Tech Sector
With support from the Northwest Area Foundation, OneAmerica is publishing a series of papers titled the Northwest Papers, which focus on three interconnected problems in Washington state: rising economic instability, the decline of quality jobs, and the persistent reproduction of inequality in our institutions. In this, the second report in the Northwest Papers Series (read the first Northwest Papers report here), the co-authors provide an illuminating profile of the Tech sector, a major driver of economic growth and wealth generation. But who has access to these economic benefits, and who does not?
Our paper addresses this core question by calling out the structural and institutional inequities within the Tech sector that limit opportunities for career growth and achievement for women, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, immigrants, and refugees.
- A large share of the tech workforce is employed in positions with precarious economic stability, either as low-wage warehouse workers or through staffing agencies or gig work.
- Women and BIPOC community members are grossly underrepresented relative to society overall owing to internal workplace discrimination and cultures in the tech sector, compounding the failure of educational and workforce pipelines into the sector.
- H-1B workers hired through staffing agencies are often grossly underpaid relative to their occupational peers and contract and gig workers face greater job insecurity, fewer benefits, and lower pay than regular employees in the sector.
- Women of all races remain sidelined from the most prestigious and well-paying jobs.
Gender and racial inequities in the tech workforce are rooted in a range of historical, economic, and political causes. These inequities are perpetuated by ongoing institutional sexism, racism and poverty in society and have created barriers to equal employment opportunities in the tech sector.
Creating Quality Jobs for All in Washington’s Tech Sector proposes achievable economic and workforce policy recommendations to address these problems. These recommendations are designed to generate dialogue and inspire action. We call on industry leaders and policymakers to create — in a meaningful and systemic way — greater opportunity and advancement for women, BIPOC, and immigrant and refugee workers in this vital sector.
As the authors of the report point out — addressing these workforce issues is good both for the economic well-being of Washington workers and families and the tech sector’s bottom line. Washington’s workforce and economic development policies must focus its resources on improving job quality and reducing inequities, including in the tech sector. King County and the City of Seattle have an important role to play in this effort, with its high concentration of tech companies and workers.
We invite you to become an active participant in an ongoing and spirited dialogue. Join us in shaping and implementing the solutions our communities are demanding. After reading this new report, we would appreciate your thoughts and comments in response to the paper and its recommendations. Please leave a reply below with your thoughts or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!