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The Sciences

Diversity in the tech world

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanMarch 17, 2010 8:34 AM


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A few weeks ago I had dinner and drinks with an old friend who works for the firm which invented the x86 series of microprocessors. He's doing well financially right now, and was very bullish on his firm. More specifically it seems that they're on a hiring binge (he knows because he's been on hiring committees). So a while back he forwarded a resume of a graduate school acquaintance to human resources. His boss came up to him later and told him that there were remunerative benefits to forwarding resumes. If the individual gets hired: - There is a entry-level $2,000 bonus to the referrer - But, if the hire is female, there is a $6,000 bonus to the referrer - But, if the hire is an underrepresented minority, there is a $12,000 bonus to the referrer All well and good. But my friend was curious: "How about if the hire is a female from an underrepresented minority?" Apparently his boss was at a loss for words, and admitted that he didn't really know. That situation had simply never occurred. The NSF has data from 2008 on doctoral recipients. 28% of recipients in the physical sciences were female, multiplying that out by the number of blacks, Hispanics and American Indians, I get 84 physical science doctorates to women who were are underrepresented minorities in 2008. Context: My friend is a European American, his boss is Southeast Asian. Additionally, in general the engineering jobs referred to here require a doctorate in the physical sciences.

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