Could tech field diversify by using orchestras’ blind auditions?

Posted on: November 20, 2014

“This summer, Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and other Silicon Valley superpowers released demographic reports on their workforces. The reports confirmed what everyone already knew: tech is a man’s world,” writes James Surowiecki in the November 24 issue of the New Yorker. “Men make up sixty to seventy per cent of employees at these companies…. The picture is also bleak when it comes to ethnic diversity.… Tech companies may pride themselves on being meritocracies, but unconscious biases shape the way they hire and promote. … Subverting these biases requires more than training. Instead, companies should be looking for … ’bias interrupters’: systems that identify bias and intervene to mitigate it. For instance, until the nineteen-seventies classical-music orchestras were almost entirely male. Once blind auditions were introduced, the percentage of women quintupled.… Google now requires interviewers to ask every candidate for a given job the same questions, so that bias doesn’t shape what gets asked.… Promoting diversity isn’t, as many techies think, pure do-gooderism. It’s genuinely good for business, since a large body of evidence suggests that making organizations more diverse can also make them perform better.’”

Posted November 20, 2014