Episode 1: Why Has Diversity Progress Been Slow at the Tech Giants?

Hello listeners, and welcome to the inaugural episode of the Tech Forward podcast! For my first episode, I spoke with Courtney Bass, a HR Business Partner at Google, who coaches and advises leaders on team management and motivation. As an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, Courtney has spent her career developing and implementing strategies that both individuals and teams can leverage for meaningful collaboration and growth.

Courtney and I covered a lot of ground during our conversation, beginning with examining why diversity progress has been so slow at many of the larger tech companies. At Google, diversity numbers are still well below representative, though they have improved over the years. Why has it been challenging for Google and other tech giants to establish a more diverse employee base?

In recent years, Google has made a sincere effort to broaden their recruitment efforts to be better able to get in front of great talent of color, and make a compelling case for what Google can offer. Courtney notes that, moving forwards, one way for Google and other tech giants to increase their diversity would be to increase their presence in places other than the Bay, such as the South and the Midwest. In Courtney’s own words, “We are a very West-Coast-centric company. […] If you’re not from this area, or don’t want to relocate here, it just may not be an option you’re willing to consider.”

The reluctance is understandable. Life in the Bay area is not only cost prohibitive (average apartment rent is well over $3000 per month), but can feel isolating to people of color. Courtney notes that during her time living in the Bay area, she has gone days without seeing another Black person. “It can feel very lonely. For some people of color, moving out to the Bay is a non-starter.”

Courtney had a lot of insights to share, and I hope you find our conversation as engaging and informative as I did. Thank you so much for listening!