Contrary to the title above, there are many reasons why people in general leave a company; pay, distance from home, insert generic sugar coated reason for leaving. But in my experience, diversity hires leave because companies don’t truly believe in diversity as they promised in the interview.
A company will claim to care about diversity but all the games in break room are enjoyed primarily by men. All executives are men, most events are designed for the men, all executives mingle with the men. This creates a culture that is clearly designed for men, and leaves little room for women to fit in anywhere. I don’t mean that there’s some form of testosterone entry fee, I just mean the culture is brogrammer compliant. There is no active effort to include anyone that is not a quintessential developer.
Many companies show very little desire to deviate from the norm — if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. They’ve yet to experience the true effects of a diverse team.
I’m gonna use Hollywood to explain what I mean. Let’s take Brooklyn nine-nine as an example, they are truly a diverse cast. Every character has an equally important role, their roles are independent of their race or gender. If Rosa or Captain Holt left, you would notice, it wouldn’t be the same without anyone of them. They could make an episode with just the 2 of them and it would still be funny. Their differences truly add to the humor of the show and in turn make it great.
In contrast, if you take a movie like The Other Woman, Nicki Minaj, whom I love, had absolutely no impact on the movie whatsoever. You could take out all her scenes and the movie would make sense. She was clearly there for some quota I’m assuming Hollywood is starting to impose. Many companies that say they care about diversity end up being exactly like this.
In the tech world, the Nicki equivalent would be the one who always has to do the documentation, gets a report using a script already written for them. They’re always given the same type of mundane tasks while their peers are pushed or mentored. They are left out of design meetings, technology upgrade decisions are made without their input and just overall subtle exclusion.
A diversity hire dreams of finding a Brooklyn nine-nine job but constantly find themselves in a ‘The Other Woman’ situation. Basically what happens is your diversity hire realizes they deserve better than just being the sassy black friend with great advice and funny one liner jokes. They will leave because they are too qualified to not be taken seriously. They will leave to pursue a challenge that is currently a luxury for their peers. They will leave because brogrammers are gross and no one wants to see that.
Until companies truly understand the benefits or need for diversity, not just a BEE Score need, then they will most likely always hemorrhage diversity hires.