Silicon Valley is located in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s been given this nickname because several of the largest high-tech corporations in the world have made this area their base of operations. A number of startup companies in that industry are also found there.
Since 2015, the largest racial/ethnic group in Silicon Valley are Asians and Pacific Islanders.
By 2040, Asian populations in Silicon Valley are expected to continue growing at a rapid rate, eventually becoming 43% of the overall population in the area. That’s 4x higher than what is expected throughout the general population of the United States. In comparison, the population of Whites/Caucasians in Silicon Valley is expected to drop from 33% today to less than 25%.
Ethnicity and Gender Silicon Valley
- 17% of the tech employees that are working at Google are women.
- About 1 out of every 4 of Silicon Valley’s high tech firms have been run by Chinese CEOs [17%] or Indian CEOs [7%] since 1980.
- Apple has reported that 80% of its global tech staff was male and that, in the US, 54% of its tech jobs were staffed by Caucasians and 23% by Asians.
- In each age group younger than 30, the majority of the population is Latino. Asians are the majority of people in their 30’s. For each age group 40 and older, Non-Latino Whites are the majority.
- Silicon Valley firms’ board of directors are composed of 15.7% women compared with 20.9% in the S&P 100.
- 60% of women who work in Silicon Valley say that they have been sexually harassed at work at least once. This is the same percentage of women who reported being the target of unwanted sexual advances from a superior.
- 75% of the women in Silicon Valley who have 10+ years of experience have children.
- 90% of women working in Silicon Valley have witnessed sexist behavior at company offsites and/or industry conferences.
- 1 in 3 women who work in Silicon Valley say that they are afraid for their personal safety at work.
- Just 8.8% of Silicon Valley companies have had women as their CEO, which is the lowest percentage of any region in the state of California.
- 47% of women say that they have been asked to do lower-level tasks that male colleagues are not asked to do.
- 88% of women report having had clients or colleagues address questions to male peers rather than to them.
- 3 out of 4 women report being asked about their marriage and their children in an interview for a job in Silicon Valley.
- The percentage of women who say that demeaning comments about their gender were spoken to them directly: 87%.
- 52% of women who took maternity leave say they shortened their leave because they thought a lengthy absence would negatively affect their career.
- 3 out of 10 women don’t report harassment because they didn’t want to remember the incident or they feared retaliation.
- Yahoo! has reported that 15% of its tech jobs were held by women, 2% of its tech employees were African-American/Black and 4% Hispanic/Latino.
In the past, Silicon Valley had an ethnicity problem. At one point, 80% of the labor force was White/Caucasian. Over the course of a generation, that has changed and now more diversity is promoted. The same thing now must be done for women here. When women have their supervisors telling them not to have children because it will limit their career, it is a problem. Silicon Valley should be embracing what women bring to the work place because, as the financial data shows, women in this industry are more successful, bring their employers more money per worker, and close more sales when compared to men.
Income Distribution in Silicon Valley
- There are more households in Silicon Valley earning $200k or more than any other specific income group.
- More than 400,000 households in Silicon Valley earn an HHI of $100k+.
- Average annual earnings in Silicon Valley per household: $107,395.
- Just 1 in 12 households in Silicon Valley is reported to have an HHI that is below poverty standards for the region.
- 1 in 13 workers in the current labor force of Silicon Valley lists their current job status as “unemployed.”
- Silicon Valley is one of the most educated regions in California, with more than 50% of Whites and Asians holding at least a Bachelor’s degree
- Since 2003, more than 300,000 jobs have been lost in Silicon Valley, with about 40% of those job losses occurring in 2010 alone.
- The lowest-earning racial/ethnic group in Silicon Valley earns 70% less than the highest earning group.
- Men with a Bachelor’s degree or higher make up to 73% percent more than women at the same level of educational attainment.
- The average tech salary in Silicon Valley is about $93,000 per year. In comparison, the same standard of living in Dallas, TX would be just $43,500.
Silicon Valley offers workers the chance to earn a high income. It also offers workers the chance to potentially earn nothing at all. HHI levels are extremely top heavy in this region, which is a great opportunity for younger workers, but is also creates higher levels of competition for those high paying positions. This is likely why there are such gender-specific attitudes within the region and why Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Whites/Caucasians dominate the demographics. Historically it is these demographics which have received the most opportunities to explore educational options in the high-tech industries. It’s said that you can tell when things are going well in Silicon Valley because there is a lot of traffic on the 101. You just won’t find a lot of women, Latinos, or African-Americans in that traffic.
How Silicon Valley is Evolving
- 12% of current Facebook employees are former Google employees.
- In 2011, Google offered its employees a $1,000 holiday bonus and a 10% pay increase to encourage them to stay.
- 103 of the 400 largest public companies headquartered in California were located in Silicon Valley.
- Over 270 lawsuits over mobile technology patents are expected from Silicon Valley on an annual basis, which costs $3.5 million on average to defend.
- A single smartphone produced out of Silicon Valley has the potential to generate 250,000 patent infringement claims.
- In 2013, Silicon Valley saw a 52% increase in the number of immigrants who were moving to the community for employment over the year before.
- Asians might be the largest ethnic group in Silicon Valley, but they are under-represented in higher level positions. They make up 27.2% of professionals, 18.8% of managers, and 13.9% of executives.
Silicon Valley is facing challenges simply because of the nature of their business. Many technologies include patents, ideas, and general work from a number of the leading employers in the area. Each must then offer licensing fees to the other in order for a released product to meet legal standards. Then add in the 35,000 estimated patents that are held by other investors who do not produce products, but demand licensing fees because of their patent, and the logistics become a nightmare. Silicon Valley is evolving into a more diverse area, but also one that is less cooperative.
The Challenges of Education in Silicon Valley
- In the 2011-12 school year, only 50% of Silicon Valley public school students graduated having completed the necessary courses to attend a 4 year college.
- Hispanics/Latinos [27%] were the least likely to graduate with the necessary courses. They were followed by African-Americans/Blacks [29%] and Pacific Islanders [31%].
- 75% of workers in Silicon Valley are forced to drive to work alone because there is a lack of public transportation in the region.
- Fewer than half of the workers in Silicon Valley are able to afford a home at the median price of real estate in the region. Housing is seeing a 10% annual increase in prices, which further hampers this issue.
- Although regional unemployment was 5.8% in November 2013 and has declined for each ethnicity, African-Americans still had a 10% unemployment rate.
- 1 in 3 students in third grade in Silicon Valley is not proficient in reading based on national benchmarks. For Hispanic/Latino students, 2 in 3 students are not proficient.
- 58% of 3-4 year olds in Silicon Valley are already enrolled in a public or private school.
In order for changes to take hold, a focus on providing a quality education to everyone must become a priority. Unfortunately the demographic data from Silicon Valley shows that even though there is an awareness of educational issues within certain racial/ethnic demographics, nothing is really being done to address the matter. If Hispanic/Latino and African-American/Black students are dropping out or failing to achieve proficiency standards after their senior year of high school, then how can they compete for the high-earning tech jobs that Silicon Valley offers? They can’t and that’s why Asians and Whites are dominating the labor force in the area.
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