back to article 1 in 5 STEM bros whinge they can't catch a break in tech world they run

A bunch of blokes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – STEM – jobs reckon they are the victim of "reverse discrimination" from efforts to diversify the ranks in tech companies. This is according to a study by Pew Research, which said this week that an August survey of men in STEM careers showed that 19 per …

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  1. Robert Forsyth

    Isn't it a small minority

    of white males that give the rest of us a bad name?

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge

      Re: Isn't it a small minority

      let me just give the musicians a bad name, now, in which pill drawer did I leave my violin...

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Isn't it a small minority

      Isn't it a small minority

      While some of the minority is in the wrong, I bet there is a grain of truth here too. If you start doing anything not based on merit, you dissatisfy BOTH sides.The real way of getting more women into STEM is not any "make equal plans", but fixing STEM in general:

      1. Reducing the antisocial content. Frankly, the level of arsehole behavior which is tolerated from some "talented individuals" especially in software engineering is not acceptable in any other workplace.

      2. Providing full career length development paths which are STEM only. There is a only a handful of companies that do it. One of the reasons why Cisco got where it got in its glory days was exactly that - you could get all the way to a DE which is a VP level salary while remaining technical. Try that in a UK company - there is NONE that has that. You have to BECOME first. If there is no career path people will fight for their right to be closer to the emergency exit and it will always be ugly.

      3. Applying positive gender correction to numbers, etc EARLY. VERY EARLY. The latest point where it can and should be applied is University. If there is a STEM slant at school level (f.e. my older attends one) it needs to do that too. Otherwise the antisocial side of nerd society shows its ugly head straight away. Taking my older one as an example I have had to go as far as allow his younger sister "full manners control" including "Alice fist of death" deployment to ensure he does not imprint that for years to come.

      From there on things are better left to their own devices, otherwise you will end up with everyone being unhappy about the way they are. That as a side effect will sort out some of the antisocial aspects. They are unfortunately a natural consequence when you collect a 90% male teenager population in a university dorm setting without the appropriate counterbalance and some people never manage to shake it off after that.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Isn't it a small minority

        "Applying positive gender correction to numbers, etc EARLY. VERY EARLY. The latest point where it can and should be applied is University."

        You are on the back foot with that one from roughly age 10 onwards. By 14 or so (in the UK at least) children are closing doors on themselves academically with their subject choices. By the time you get to university, it is *way*, *way* too late to do anything about the fact that the applicants simply aren't there.

        Other than that, I think I agree. I particularly like the "Alice" touch, though it will doubtless annoy the snowflakes described in the article.

        (Edit: The term "snowflake" was coined by social conservatives as a term of abuse for those who in their view "couldn't stand the heat" of real life. Therefore, I think it is entirely reasonable to use it against those of that same group who, it seems, can't stand the heat when it is applied to themselves.)

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Re: Isn't it a small minority

          I prefer the term broflake myself for this type of "man".

      2. streaky Silver badge

        Re: Isn't it a small minority

        Let the race to mediocrity commence.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Isn't it a small minority

        While some of the minority is in the wrong, I bet there is a grain of truth here too. If you start doing anything not based on merit, you dissatisfy BOTH sides.

        Absolutely. This 'social justice' bullshit is just ratcheting up the hostility. It's counterproductive and divisive. It breeds contempt for the 'protected' minorities. Professional victims hijack the company, competent white male workers jump ship to companies that don't discriminate, and any competent women/minorities who remain are tarnished by the appearance of preferential treatment. The company goes to shit, salaries decline, then they get pink slips and other companies will be very hesitant to hire them. Who benefits from all this? Nobody.

      4. Kabukiwookie

        Re: Isn't it a small minority

        "1. Reducing the antisocial content. Frankly, the level of arsehole behavior which is tolerated from some "talented individuals" especially in software engineering is not acceptable in any other workplace."

        Try working for a bank, then come back to me.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Isn't it a small minority

          I can name two separate university departments (different universities, different subjects) where the number of male academic promotions fell to zero, and the promotions of females with much less experience and fewer and less prestigious publications became laughable in its obviousness. I have no particular axe to grind since I didn't want any of the posts, but it is easy to see that there isn't a level playing field. The goal is simply to have more female* senior lecturers/readers/professors as quickly as possible, regardless of qualification. Unfortunately, the beneficiaries of positive discrimination will always be looked at with suspicion, as will any others with the same relevant characteristic.

          There is pressure on the judiciary to do the same, simply so the numbers can look good - waiting a few more years until the increased number of female lawyers get the usual amount of time in before applying to become a judge just doesn't seem to be acceptable.

          *Odd that the number of promotions for people with e.g. disabilities doesn't seem to have gone up in the same way ...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Isn't it a small minority

      I used to work at NASA. Definitely "diversity" in promotions outweighed competence. Has for decades.

      1. Grimsterise

        Re: Isn't it a small minority

        This commenty says to me: 'I was rubbish at my job so I'll blame 'diversity' for the fact that I never go promoted.

        1. streaky Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Isn't it a small minority

          This commenty says to me: 'I was rubbish at my job so I'll blame 'diversity' for the fact that I never go promoted.

          This comment says to me "I'm rubbish at my job so I'll blame the fact I'm not a white male for the fact I can't get ahead". Surely you see how lame this game is?

          All anybody sensible wants is an even playing field on both sides. I'm personally all about meritocracy, you get the best person for the job, no matter what they are and you go from there. Employers can't, nor should they be, artificially trying to solve society's past ills. Simply doesn't work, why would anybody try to hire somebody who isn't the best fit for the job they're trying to fill? It's a nonsense, any company doing this isn't going to be in business for long unless they have more money than sense (see: google et al).

          I literally couldn't give a toss, I have no issue getting hired - but I can understand why people are annoyed; and women and racial minorities have to work with the very people they're actively trying to piss off, that's a recipe for stupidity. Regardless, companies are actively doing themselves harm which I find utterly hilarious, so carry on. Incompetence is pervasive through management culture in tech so there's nothing new here.

        2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

          Re: Isn't it a small minority

          ...and with a very minor tweak of rhetoric, your statement becomes....

          "This commenty says to me: 'I was rubbish at my job so I'll blame the *lack* of 'diversity' for the fact that I never got promoted."

          Still not factual evidence.

      2. nerdbert
        Flame

        Re: Isn't it a small minority

        I also used to work at NASA. That is until the HR drone and my manager gave a presentation that flatly stated that no white male would get a promotion until there was "equality" in our department. There were 20 engineers in our department, all "white males" as far as HR was concerned (i.e. we were all males of Caucasian or Asian decent). We did the math and very soon the department was down to 5 engineers and still shrinking last I heard. Why stick around in those situations?

    4. wheelbearing
      Coat

      Re: Isn't it a small minority - Bear me out please - two things..

      Thing 1

      Both assertions - that both men and women in some recruitment/promotion situations are selected against - could be true.

      Scenario 1

      Medium/ large corp IT setup.Thing 1

      Both assertions - that both men and women in some recruitment/promotion situations are selected against - could be true.

      Scenario 1

      Medium/ large corp IT setup.

      Think of the situation - you are the hiring manager/HR person. You have two candidates at the final selection who have performed equally well at interview and are on a par in terms of their CV.

      One is white male, one is female. The hiring company has a strong campaign to hire more women. As the hiring manager and HR bod, who do you pick?

      Well I reckon 8 out of ten times it will be the woman that gets it - on the basis that especially if the hiring manager/HR is old, white and male a) he will fear heat in some way if he doesn't, b) he hopes to gain brownie points for his own promotion/performance/redundancy review.

      I reckon that in this scenario one big factor that may affect the outcome will be the sex of the hiring manager + HR. If you are a woman you may feel you have more scope to hire men without (as much) criticism.

      Scenario 2

      Small business

      You are the owner/manager. You have two candidates at the final selection who have performed equally well at interview and are on a par in terms of their CV.

      One is white male, one is female. The hiring company has a strong campaign to hire more women. As the hiring manager and company owner, who do you pick?

      Regardless of your sex, as the owner I reckon you'll likely choose the man, because, brutally, the man is less likely to take time off. 2016 ONS (the UK state statistics office) labour market figures indicate women take on average more than 150% more time off than men. That is highly significant, especially in a small business where the likely outcome of your choice will have a much more significant and personal impact.

      Thing 2

      I think that the UK tech sector overall has massively improved the chances of advancement of women in the tech workplace once they get there. They are now as good as they have ever been, and maybe not far off as good as they will ever get without state sanctioned positive discrimination and a massive change in womens culture, so that, all other things being equivalent, women have as much chance as men to climb the slippery hierarchy pole (should they wish to do so and should they make the same child/dependent care choices as most men - ie default being "don't do much at all").

      I do accept that men have a big impact on the career choices women make, especially as tech companies are mostly male dominated (which in practice basically just means there are more men than women in positions of power in the businesses, and so the culture is bound to be more male influenced).

      As a dad to three daughters, I think the biggest barrier to women entering the tech workplace now is other women. Despite (or maybe partly because of) my best endeavours, none of my daughters has chosen to pursue science tech educational qualifications. Their girl peer groups appear to be relentless in their view of science and tech as "uncool" "nerdy" and "for blokes mainly".

      Female targeted mainstream and popular media just seems to reinforce this attitude.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Isn't it a small minority - Bear me out please - two things..

        Their girl peer groups appear to be relentless in their view of science and tech as "uncool"

        Sadly there seems to be a peer group which regards any educational achievement as uncool. I read recently that the lowest achieving group in the UK are white working class males.

        1. kjw

          Re: Isn't it a small minority - Bear me out please - two things..

          Not IT specific, Channel 4 made a two part documentary on this very recently: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/professor-green-working-class-white-men

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Isn't it a small minority - Bear me out please - two things..

        The intelligent thing for a small business owner to do is to employ the older of the two workers. Positive age discrimination is a metric that is considered virtuous, and employees over 40, as well as being generally experienced and conscientious, also don't take parental leave so much.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Isn't it a small minority - Bear me out please - two things..

          "The intelligent thing for a small business owner to do is to employ the older of the two workers. Positive age discrimination is a metric that is considered virtuous, and employees over 40, as well as being generally experienced and conscientious, also don't take parental leave so much."

          That depends on the labour laws in your country. In the Netherlands, the older a worker, the more expensive contributions employer become to things like state pension. If you're over 50 and need to find a new role, there's very few companies that will still want to hire you.

  2. lnLog
    Trollface

    *chuckle*

    ^see above, can't say I have any sympathy for some 'members' of my gender. Come back when the ratios are 50/50 at work and home looking after their spawn.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: *chuckle*

      Why on earth should it be 50/50? Who are we to force all genders and races to like all jobs equally?

      Surly we should respect peoples choices.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: *chuckle*

        Surly we should respect peoples choices.

        I can't choose to work for Google, they would have to choose to employ me.

        And don't call me surly.

        1. Chemical Bob

          Re: And don't call me surly.

          Ill-tempered, perhaps?

  3. Mycho Silver badge

    Ignoring the gender element

    How about we just accept that Tech treats people like shit?

    There's no need to cite this complaint as evidence when it's made by a woman and victim blame when the exact same complaint is made by a man. 20% of people, male and female, who leave tech do so because they were treated like shit.

    Tech needs to stop treating people like shit. That's all there is to it.

  4. sprograms

    The nature of the disadvantaging beast

    It may sound paradoxical (bros discriminated against by the system "they run"), but the confusion only arises from considering the males that are running the system as having the same interests as the new applicant mails. No. They live in different worlds and have different goals. The new applicant wants a job on a non-discriminatory bases. The senior managers/owners have a different goal, building and maintaining a workforce the gender/race composition of which matches the current demands of the political environment: It is that political environment which regulates the tech corporation, In other words, the political environment is able to force the disadvantaging of males simply because it "wants" more females in the positions. The political environment (at present) has no care about differing qualifications and productivity (should there happen to be any). It wants what it wants.

    The U.S. Civil Service and others have gone through this hell (if you're a man) heaven (if you're a woman/minority). It's ugly, but it's life. The newly advantaged consider the disadvantage of males just "payback." The payback should be going to the previous generation males, or manager/owner males, but it never does, for a reason. Discuss.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Ignoring the gender element

      Agreed on most counts, except for one thing : it's white males that are at the origin of treating people like shit.

      So I'm really sorry, but I just can't drum up sympathy for white males who today feel discriminated against in the whitest industry on the planet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ignoring the gender element

        Well, working at a very diverse Fortune 100 company in the US, I can say that power corrupts regardless of sex or other measures. In my greater than 10 years at my current company the only person to yell at me at work has been a female vice president. In a company where that sort of culture is discouraged I find it interesting that it happened at all let alone from one of the members of the non-white male group. I generally agree that white males are the current group that has a lot of the powerful positions but it definitely seems like the common thread is powerful positions more than it is any other group.

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ignoring the gender element

        " it's white males that are at the origin of treating people like shit."

        Always? 100% of the time? Every. Single. Company?

        Never an Asian male? No one Oriental? No females. At. All?

        I call bullshit. And you're probably going to call me names now (racist, sexist, pig, misogynist etc. etc.) because you have zero evidence for your statement, but that's par for the course these days. Make a big statement, present no evidence and shout down anyone who disagrees. Because shouting makes right. Or are you going to start banging on about historical injustice from the previous couple of centuries that (most of us) are actually working hard at correcting already?

        I've worked for a very, very wide range of people and one thing I have learned in all that time is that people are just that. People. Some are arseholes, some are not. Skin colour, gender and cultural origins seem to have bugger all to do with it.

        I'll grant you that most harm done to me in my life has been by rich people in suits, but they're not always men and they're not always white.

        But, you stick with your popularist, sweeping, emotive bollocks. Seems to be getting you what you want.

        Whatever that is today.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ignoring the gender element

          My last job, all the hostility came from two females, one of them white.

          In the case of the younger of the two, who is the only colleague I have ever had stamp their little feet at me (unable to vent at the person they were angry with because he wasn't there) I went full BOFH.

          Short version, I was polite, gave a quick solution to her problem, then waited until I inevitably had to clean up something she'd done wrong. A few phrases like "Oh, no, everybody makes mistakes, no sense getting bothered about it." later and she never vented at work again.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Ignoring the gender element

          "Some are arseholes, some are not."

          The former seem to be most likely to get to positions of authority.

      4. Stu Mac

        Re: Ignoring the gender element

        There wouldn't be any jobs if it wasn't for "white males". We live in a white part of the globe and time we put the size 10s down on a few necks again.

      5. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Ignoring the gender element

        ..."it's white males that are at the origin of treating people like shit."

        In a white dominated society. Now, try going somewhere that isn't a white dominated society and seeing how far 'white privilege' gets you. Travel, see how white westerners are treated, and often we're just seen as a walking wallet to take money from, by fair means or foul.

      6. FrozenShamrock

        Re: Ignoring the gender element

        I would venture that treating all people like shit is different than discriminating against certain types of people. I do not believe I have personally been discriminated against because I am a white male; the companies I have worked for have treated all of us like disposal shit.

        I did notice when I worked at Microsoft that even though women made up only about 15% of the technical staff they made up about 60% of first line managers.

        1. Mycho Silver badge

          Re: Ignoring the gender element

          I would venture that treating all people like shit is different than discriminating against certain types of people.

          In reality, yes, but when it happens to you it feels like discrimination.

      7. danielanthony

        Re: Ignoring the gender element

        "So I'm really sorry, but I just can't drum up sympathy for white males who today feel discriminated against in the whitest industry on the planet."

        Clearly, you haven't been to China or India where the number of non-white techies is 99.9999%

      8. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ignoring the gender element

        @Pascal Monett: those are OTHER white men. While it is possible for people to think of "white men" as a homogeneous privileged group, and to (mis)treat everyone they so classify on that basic, it simply isn't so. Just who counts as "white" is unclear. I count Turks, Copts, the Lebanese people I've met, and my Jewish friends as "white". Others have other views. On one grandfather's side, my ancestors were classified as "untermenschen" by the Germans; on the other grandfather's side, they were classified as "subhuman" by the English. Yet they were all "white" Europeans. The idea that my grandfather's dispossessed people formed a common-interest bloc with their oppressors is ridiculous. In my previous job, I, my boss, and his boss, were all "white males", but we came from different cultures, had radically different political views, and *massively different levels of power*. Lumping me with my boss's boss on the basis that we both shave and are melanin-deficient is so crazy only an ideologue with no understanding of or interest in human diversity or social dynamics could come up with such an idea. The people at my level in my former job (which was involved programming and training) were lovely people working hard to support an inclusive environment. So treating workers as a homogeneous group simply on the basis of which part of their body they use the razor on and the colour of their skin also ignores human diversity. --- A white male who scores 47/100 on the Buzzfeed privilege checker.

    2. I3N
      Pint

      Read the EET - knew early that Tech was shit and being a lower-paid boffin was best

      along with having a plumber look over my shoulder while I was doing homework and comment "Oh, transistor load lines".

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Ignoring the gender element

      "Ignore the gender element" is just right in this case. James Damore didn't get kicked out of Google for his gender or race but because of his political views.

      1. Indolent Wretch

        Re: Ignoring the gender element

        Yeah those political views he felt the need to express in a google forum visible to everyone at the company and in a way that violated his terms of employment?

        Ah diddums.

    4. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Form is temporary but class is permanent.

      "...the confusion only arises from considering the males that are running the system as having the same interests as the new applicant mails."

      There is some truth to this. In the UK, white, working class males are one of the more disadvantaged groups. Whereas the white male elite is one of the most privileged. And white males span the levels inbetween. White males are not a homogeneous group.

      This is also an empirical hint that stuffing the elite with women and non-whites won't help the minorities at the bottom. Identity politics is a second-order effect and applies intra-class; class is the first-order term that dominates.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Form is temporary but class is permanent.

        I'm toying with the idea of getting a T-Shirt printed with the following..

        "I'm so privileged I'm not allowed a voice".

        1. Jonathan Schwatrz
          Thumb Up

          Re: Sir Runcible Spoon Re: Form is temporary but class is permanent.

          I'll take two, please, Spoony.

      2. Cyberspice

        Re: Form is temporary but class is permanent.

        However white working class females are even more dscriminated against than white working class males. They are the ones who suffer the most pay differentiation. Intersectionalism is the relationship between different privileges. Yes white women in the elite are more privileged that working class men but they are still not as privileged as white men in the elite. This is the same at all levels.

    5. InNY

      Re: The nature of the disadvantaging beast

      Back in the day, the US Civil Service couldn't get any suitably qualified white men to apply for any jobs with them, unless it was in a law enforcement agency. Thus, they went with other suitably qualified folk.

      Same as the various State and City agencies dotted around the country.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ignoring the gender element

      @Myco: I'd rephrase that. How about we just accept that (upper) MANAGEMENT treats people like shit.

      I've a friend who worked in the paint industry. You think Tech has it bad?

      I've had friends who work in tertiary education tell me "don't even think about working here."

      I've spoken with young lawyers. I am *so* glad I was never a lawyer.

      You should have heard Granddad's stories. (He was a wharfie.) My word, scum got treated better.

      Middle management can be wonderful human beings. Somewhere along the line toHR or upper management they get a cardiectomy.

      Posted anonymously because even hinting at my previous employment conditions could get me in trouble.

  5. jakeisatwat

    Slight typo

    -- "A woman has to be significantly better at her job to be judged just as good," said one woman who apparently isn't satisfied despite getting 19 per cent of Microsoft's tech and leadership roles.

    One single woman is taking 19 per cent of the tech and leadership roles at MS? That's just selfish.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Slight typo

      She better be good if she's doing 19% of the entire company's leadership work! I'd need a nap.

      1. The Nazz Silver badge

        Re: Slight typo

        Just hanging this out there but maybe she's the one responsible for the Windows 10 clusterfuck.

        Runs and hides, again.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Slight typo

          Nah, a fuckup that big takes a majority of the executive leadership to sign off on it.

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