by Sarah K. White

Top 5 cities for workplace diversity in IT

Nov 21, 2016
CareersIT JobsIT Skills

Diversity in tech is a high-profile issue, and although tech-giants have vowed to change things, there are still some cities that are leading the way in diversity for the industry. Here are the five most diverse American cities for tech workers.

5 cities for workplace diversity in IT

The tech industry is widely criticized for a lack of diversity in the workplace. Companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook were forced to a lack of minority employees in their ranks and vowed to make a change. Diversity is important for tech companies, not only for the social implications, but because it’s difficult for a company designing products for the masses if only one demographic is sitting at the table.

Paysa, a company that focuses on career statistics and job search tools, looked at the data for number of companies and job titles in the U.S. It found that for cities reporting lower diversity in tech, they also found a “substantial correlation” to lower annual pay. And that might be because diversity has been shown to make businesses more successful in multiple areas — Forbes released a study that linked diversity in the workplace to greater innovation, global success and talent retention.

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur who wants to avoid the diversity hiring mistakes of past startups, or a tech worker looking to get into a more diverse environment, here are the five most diverse cities in tech, according to data from Paysa.

El Paso, Texas

El Paso, Texas

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El Paso, Texas, has experienced a revival over the past decades, resulting in what is now a thriving tech community that is also the most diverse in the country. El Paso’s comeback story, from falling behind in national economic measures to becoming one of the “most prosperous cities in the west,” can be attributed to a number of things, according to local newspaper, El Paso Inc. But perhaps most notably, there was a big push in the 90’s from leaders and activists to develop an economic plan. And with the birth of some tech companies, and a push to invest in infrastructure in 2006, El Paso found itself turning into a fast-growing tech hub.

Today, it’s one of the most diverse cities for tech workers, with a workforce that is only 37 percent Caucasian with workers in this city reporting an average yearly salary of $91,734.

Miami, Florida

Miami, FL

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Miami currently ranks second in the country for startup activity and growth of new entrepreneurs, with a reported “startup density of 113,” according to the Kauffman Index. That means, for every 1,000 businesses in Miami, 113 of them are startups, which Kauffman defines as business that are less than one years old and employ at least one person besides the founder. The Miami Herald reports that the startup culture in Miami is not only about giving back to the community, but building a future for Floridian youth. According to the Miami Herald, the city has welcomed multiple initiatives like LaunchCode, dedicated to help fill the talent gap by creating skilled workers to fill open positions. And the Venture Café is a weekly meeting of local innovators to make the tech industry more accessible to everyone through workshops and networking.

The tech industry in Miami, FL is comprised of 38 percent Caucasian workers and workers in this industry report an average yearly salary of $120,675 per year.

Fremont, California

Fremont, Calif.

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Fremont, Calif., is nestled in the southeast of the San Francisco Bay Area, not far from the Silicon Valley. This city is ranked eighth for entrepreneurial growth, with a startup growth rate of 71 percent and a startup density of just under 148, according to the Kauffman Index. Being so close to the tech-hub, Fremont isn’t new to the tech scene — in fact, the first Mac computer was built in an Apple factory in Fremont. The city has enjoyed a thriving tech scene since the ’80s, and this year it came in at third on the list of most diverse tech cities, avoiding the diversity issues that have plagued Silicon Valley despite being a stone’s throw away.

According to the research from Paysa, the average annual salary for a tech worker in Fremont is $151,820 per year and, in terms of diversity, the workforce is comprised of 39 percent Caucasian workers.

Milpitas, California

Milpitas, Calif.

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Just a little south of Fremont you will find the city of Milpitas, which rank fourth on the list of most diverse cities for tech workers. It’s home to several tech companies including Adaptec, Linear Technology and Sandisk. Other companies like Cisco Systems and Seagate Technology also have offices in Milpitas, with Cisco coming in as the top employer in the city with 3,816 workers. Just like Fremont, Milpitas seems to have managed to avoid diversity issues in tech, despite its proximity to Silicon Valley. In fact, the city ranks first in the United States for the most residents employed in the tech industry, with 31 percent of male and 27 percent of female residents employed in tech.

The tech workforce in Milpitas consists of 43 percent Caucasian workers, and the average reported salary for tech workers in this city is the highest on this list at an average of $165,740 per year.

Edison, New Jersey

5 edison nj

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The tech market in Edison, N.J. is quickly growing — in 2015, the city ranked 21st on the Kauffman Index for entrepreneurial growth, pulling ahead to 18th in 2016. According to the state of New Jersey, information technology businesses can come to the Garden State to enjoy their “extensive broadband network,” which the state claims reaches 99 percent of the population, with 63 percent of the population having access to fiber-optic networks as well. Beyond that, the state offers incentives to tech companies that include training grants and tax exemptions. The state also highlights its consistently high rankings in education, pointing to this as a built-in workforce for tech companies.

Edison, NJ came in at number five on the list of most diverse cities, with 44 percent of the workforce being Caucasian; tech workers in this city report an average salary of $117,507 per year.