March 18, 2016 | Dave West | Partner/Board of Directors

Westwerk Proud to Be a Gender-Equal Agency

There’s no point in sugarcoating it (although some Sour Patch Kids would definitely help ease the pain): the numbers are bad. Really bad. Leaders in the tech industry have long known there’s a problem with gender diversity in the workforce, yet significant strides have yet to be made nationwide. While some high-profile Silicon Valley players are stepping up to the plate with ambitious benchmarks–Pinterest’s 2016 goal to increase hiring rates for full-time engineering roles to 30 percent female being a prime example–the problem remains.

According to a report issued by the National Center for Women and Informational Technology earlier this month, women made up 57 percent of professional occupations in the US workforce in 2015, but held only 25 percent of professional computing occupations. And the numbers for women of color in the computing workplace are far worse, breaking down at five percent Asian, three percent African-American, and only one percent Hispanic in 2015. The dismal stats certainly can’t be attributed to a lack of jobs. In Minnesota, as in the rest of the nation, the tech industry is booming. According to Cyberstates 2016: The Definitive State-by-State Analysis of the U.S. Tech Industry published by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), Minnesota increased its number of tech industry jobs by 4 percent last year, adding 5,475 positions in 2015. Yet when it comes to finding female workers to fill those jobs, sadly Minnesota doesn’t appear to be bucking any trends.

Which is a big part of the reason why, as we celebrate our 10th year in business, we are beyond pumped to announce that Westwerk is officially a gender equal agency. With women now making up 50 percent of our employees, International Women’s Day took on a special meaning for us this year. And because we are not a remote agency – each of our team members works out of our northeast Minneapolis office and lives within the metro area – it makes it all the better when celebrating! Although we didn’t set out to intentionally increase our gender diversity when we underwent our agency restructuring and hiring push this winter, it says a lot about Westwerk’s new direction and unified vision that the cards ended up playing out that way. A lot of companies talk the talk, not all that many actually walk the walk. Like any company in the tech industry we still have plenty of work to do to increase our workforce diversity overall, but we couldn’t be prouder of the monumental steps we’ve taken so far.

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