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Survey Says Workers Are Leaving Tech Jobs Because Of Mistreatment

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The tech industry is getting hit hard by turnover among workers who think they've been treated unfairly. That's the conclusion of a national study that examines why workers leave their jobs in tech. The problem is most acute among underrepresented workers, meaning women, racial minorities, ethnic minorities. NPR's Aarti Shahani reports.

AARTI SHAHANI, BYLINE: There are many ugly anecdotes about what tech companies are like on the inside - places where women are sexually harassed and blocked from promotion, where blacks and Latinos don't get hired. This new survey is an effort to pivot from anecdotes to patterns. And it found 37 percent of the adults surveyed indicated that unfairness played a major role in their decision to leave their company. Lead author Allison Scott on a conference call for press.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

ALLISON SCOTT: So this was the largest driver or turnover in the sample by almost two times.

SCOTT: The Kapor Center for Social Impact, a group that promotes workplace diversity, partnered with the Harris Poll to survey about 2,000 people online. Researchers found the No. 1 reason for leaving was not a better job offer; it was mistreatment, especially for women and underrepresented minorities. The survey considered four types of unfair practices.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

SCOTT: One being unfair people management practices, things like job assignments and promotions; two being stereotyping; three, sexual harassment; and four, bullying.

SHAHANI: About 80 percent of respondents said they'd experienced at least one of these. But the type experienced varied by race, gender and sexual orientation. For example, white and Asian men reported being more unfairly managed than men of other races. LGBTQ respondents reported the highest rate of bullying. And women...

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

SCOTT: One in 10 women reported unwanted sexual attention or harassment.

SHAHANI: In recent years, the largest tech companies have begun to disclose how many women and underrepresented minorities they're hiring. But with the exception of the chip maker Intel, no major company is disclosing how many of these employees are staying versus leaving. Aarti Shahani, NPR News, San Francisco. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.