Diversity Pledge report shows both progress and gaps in bringing women and people of color into tech workforce

PRESS RELEASE: July 20, 2017

Prosper Portland has released a report by DHM Research that shows systemic progress in diverse hiring – as well as ongoing areas of concern – among Portland’s technology companies, based on results of an online survey conducted in May 2017.

DHM compared the 2017 research results to data from the 2016 survey, also conducted by DHM with employees of companies that are a part of the TechTown Diversity Pledge initiative. A key goal of the pledge is to share collective data on the demographic representation of gender and race within pledge company offices in the Portland metro area.

Key findings are posted on Techtown’s newly designed website and presented in graphic format on the interactive data page designed and built by Planet Argon. Among them:

  • Women and people of color are more represented among the TechTown than they were in 2016.
  • Comparing employees hired prior to and after the July 1, 2015 pledge date reveals an increase in the representation of women and people of color among newer hires.
  • While gains in representation among the whole workforce for white women and men of color have been accompanied by an increase in representation in higher-up positions, women of color saw their representation among leadership and/or management roles stagnate.
  • Between 75% and 90% of respondents agree their companies are providing an inclusive environment; however, on each of the four questions, men and particularly white men more strongly agree than other demographic groups.

“The positive results are gratifying, but clearly we have more to do. I hope more companies will join this effort to make our industry more inclusive, welcoming, and representative of all Portland communities.” – Marcelino Alvarez, founder and CEO of Uncorked Studios

“Our participation in the Diversity Pledge has had a profound impact on Zapproved’s culture and hiring practices. It has helped us grow a more diverse and dynamic culture,” said Monica Enand, founder and CEO of Zapproved.  “Our awareness and regular discussions about inclusion of people of color and underrepresented genders is good not only for our company but also for our community as a whole.”

“The Diversity Pledge has evolved as a practical, meaningful tool,” said Prosper Portland Executive Director Kimberly Branam. “We’ve added an action council, trainings and a better on-boarding process leading to more women and people of color in the industry; our focus now must be on greater diversity in leadership and technical roles to build a more inclusive culture industry-wide.”

The TechTown collaboration originated as a collective effort to raise awareness of Portland as a place where tech companies and workers could grow and thrive. Sam Blackman, CEO and founder of AWS Elemental, was instrumental in its formation and the subsequent launch of the Diversity Pledge to push for more diverse hiring practices across the industry.


For more DHM Research’s complete survey report, please visit our Resources page.

For information about this press release, please contact Shawn Uhlman, Prosper Portland, 503-823-7994

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Portland tech companies have joined the Diversity & Inclusion Pledge since its initial launch in 2015.

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