Friday, May 22, 2015

Diversity in Tech -- Silicon Valley vs. the rest of the U.S.

Last update: Friday 5/22/15
Question: What percent of America's software jobs are in Silicon Valley?

I confess to being ignorant of the existence of any reports that provide precise answers to this question. No matter, because for the purposes of this discussion we won't need precise answers. Plausible "back of the envelop" estimates will be sufficient to make an important point.
  • According to Quick Facts of the U.S. Census bureau, the total population of the U.S. is about 319 million
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics (Current Population Survey) says that the total U.S. workforce over 16 is approximately 146 million. Therefore the workforce represents around 46 percent of the total U.S. population
  • Quick Facts also says that the population of Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, has a population of around 1.9 million. Assuming that its workforce is also about 46 percent of its total population, there are about 875,000 workers in Santa Clara County
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there are about 1.2 million software developers in the entire U.S.  Therefore software developers represent about 0.8 percent of the total U.S. workforce.
  • We could also assume that 0.8 percent of the Santa Clara labor force were software developers, but this would be like saying that the percentage of actors in Hollywood is the same as the percentage of actors in the entire U.S. workforce. So let's go way, way up. Let's assume that 20 percent of the employees in Santa Clara County are software developers. This is 25 times the 0.8 share of the total U.S. workforce
  • 20 percent of the 875,000 workers in Santa Clara = 175,000. And 175,000 is less than 15 percent of the 1.2 million software developers in the entire U.S.
  • Bottom line = => At least 85 percent of U.S. software developers are employed at locations outside of Silicon Valley
Therefore those of us who want to provide Blacks and other minorities with career opportunities in software development and closely related fields should focus the vast majority of our energies on corporations and government agencies outside of Silicon Valley because that's where the vast majority of the career opportunities are located.

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