It turns out, there's not a diversity problem in technology's heartland: the Googles and Facebooks are full of black and Latino workers. The problem is that they're doing the jobs nobody wants, for peanuts.
A new report by Working Partnerships USA, a labor advocacy group, has hard numbers on the Valley's gross inequality: "The reality is that tech already employs the services of an army of Latino, Black, and immigrant workers: those who clean, guard, maintain, and cook on tech campuses every day, often for poverty-level wages."
The report explains that because these service employees are largely contractors, they're not included in the official (and dismal) diversity figures that have trickled out this year. Denied access to plus perks or free transit because they of their contractor status, these non-white workers earn a fraction of their white counterparts:
Although they go to work each day on the same campus as the engineers and coders, their wages are worlds apart. In the two largest tech occupations in Santa Clara County – systems software developers and applications software developers – the respective median wages are $63.62 and $61.87. In sharp contrast, the median wages for the three largest categories of contracted workers – landscaping workers, janitors, and security guards – are $13.82, $11.39, and $14.17. A janitor working full-time at that wage would have to use his or her entire monthly income plus working overtime just to pay the rent on an average apartment in Santa Clara County.
Emphasis added. These people who clean, drive, and protect, are then faced with spiking costs of living due to the success of the people they're serving.
They could at least be allowed to take a to-go box from the cafeteria. Read the report in full, below.
Photo of a Google cafeteria in Washington via Getty