The Black tech wage gap is projected to jump 37% in the next decade, resulting in $51.3 billion in lost wages for Black workers each year, according to a report released Friday from the McKinsey Institute on Economic Black Mobility.
The report predicts serious challenges to racial equity in tech and comes at a critical moment for the industry, as layoffs disproportionately bear down on Black and other historically marginalized employees.
Black employees are already underrepresented across the industry: They hold only 8% of tech jobs (and only 3% of C-suite-level positions), but account for 12% of the total U.S. workforce.
That chasm is only going to widen in the coming years, McKinsey’s report suggests. Technology jobs across sectors are projected to increase substantially by 2032, going up about 14%—but those gains won’t be evenly distributed. Black tech talent is only projected to grow up 8% in the same time frame.
Without substantial interventions, current economic pressures are only going to exacerbate these trends. The tech layoff tracker Layoffs.fyi recorded about 85,000 jobs lost across 250 companies in the month of January; research has shown those cuts are taking a serious toll on companies’ DEI initiatives, and the “first in, last out” downsizing mentality has made women and people of color statistically much more likely to lose their jobs.
The industry will recover; but without substantial interventions, it won’t recover evenly. Closing the racial wage gap requires industry investment in early-education opportunities for Black students, better partnerships with HBCUs, and more advancement opportunities for Black talent, according to the McKinsey report.
Barring such efforts, the tech industry faces a serious racial-equity problem in the coming decade, with billions of wages lost to Black households as a result.