To examine minority representation in tech, we must begin the conversation by diving into diversity data. In a 2020 report surveying tech professionals and tech employers, data revealed racial disparities among tech companies surveyed, showing that 73% had no Hispanic or Latinx employees at the executive level. Although this report was not inclusive of every tech company in the nation, it gave a glimpse into real patterns that are present within the industry. As I mentioned in my previous blog, we can all make active efforts to improve DE&I across all spaces – and this is no exception.
In my personal quest to further understand DE&I in the tech space, I took it upon myself to gather primary data from eight Latinx individuals across various departments and management levels at Oracle. I inquired why there was a lack of Latinx representation and received varying answers, including low levels of self-efficacy in the community, a lack of exposure to opportunities in tech, bias upon entry into the workforce, and an absence of mentorship available for emerging talent. Those four categories are heavy undertakings to unpack, and many interviewees felt that they were only the tip of the iceberg. For Latinx professionals currently in the industry, this serves as a reminder to continue to work towards a more representative workplace.
It was wonderful to realize how actively engaged Oracle is in providing knowledge, resources, and support for all employees.
“Once you join Oracle, you are in the sea,” said Jesse Betancourt, the National Co-Chair of OLA. “Everything is self-service; you have to find your way into the company. The way I found my way was through the ERG, Oracle Latino Alliance (OLA).”
The goals of OLA are to develop talent, build networks, create business impact, strengthen leadership skills, and pay it forward through volunteering and networking events. One of OLA’s newest initiatives is the Leadership Mentoring Program, launched earlier this year. The 9-month program operates on a high-touch/low-volume basis and pairs 12 Latinx mentees with 12 Latinx senior-level managers to maximize talent development and drive the next generation of Latinx leaders through interactive sessions and exclusive mentorship opportunities.
Oracle customers are also doing the same, similar to Oracle’s efforts to bring inclusivity and empowerment to their internal communities. Take Nielsen, for example, a leading entertainment tracking organization tasked with understanding Americans' television viewing habits. They provide an expansive ERG offering to their employees, supporting Hispanic, African American, LGBTQ, and veteran groups. Additionally, the company created the Diverse Leadership Network, an initiative aimed at elevating their employees for next-level positions. Through this program, Hispanic and African Americans have successfully seen growth in representation at the leadership level, demonstrating that a commitment to DE&I works and pushes companies in the right direction.
Throughout this DE&I journey, I gathered new perspectives around the workplace. I learned that there is plenty of work to be done and that it is not enough anymore to talk about low minority representation levels simply—change begins by taking definitive actions. On an individual level, Latinx talent must recognize their self-worth and the skills they bring to the table. An additional strategy to implement at Oracle could be to provide even more executive alignment to minority representation efforts led by individuals or collective DE&I efforts from ERG’s. Company leaders across the industry can improve representation by investing in their current and future Latinx employees by providing career growth and mentorship opportunities while developing partnerships with non-profits and universities to build strong talent pipelines. Furthermore, leaders can also equip the broader workforce with anti-bias and cultural immersion training to bring added perspective and inclusivity.
I am grateful for having the incredible opportunity to connect with Latinx Oracle employees. Throughout this two-part blog series project, I confirmed my initial beliefs that DE&I truly falls on the responsibility of everyone. The additional lesson that I gained is that no DE&I effort is too small. As I return to school in the fall, I will balance these lessons and perspectives with my continued learnings. In the meantime, I hope these two blogs have planted seeds in the hearts and minds of others as they continue their DE&I initiatives.
To learn more about my journey and what lies ahead, follow me on LinkedIn.
Rocio Gonzalez Melendez is the Global Marketing Intern for the Oracle Cloud HCM Campaign Marketing team, Summer 2021.