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Women and some racial minorities are "significantly underrepresented" in the U.S. technology industry, according to a new study from the industry's trade group.
Women made up 32 percent of the tech work force in 2004, a drop from 41 percent at its peak in 1996. That's largely because of the shrinking number of administrative jobs in the tech industry, the Arlington, Va.-based Information Technology Association of America said.
Hispanics were the most underrepresented racial group, according to the ITAA's analysis of data from U.S. Department of Labor.
Hispanics made up 13 percent of the U.S. labor pool but only 6.4 percent of the tech work force, an underrepresentation of more than 50 percent. Still, the numbers have improved since 1996, when Hispanics made up a scant 5.3 percent.
Blacks were underrepresented by 22 percent and whites by 6.6 percent. Asians and Asian-Americans were overrepresented by nearly threefold compared with the general U.S. labor force, the study found.
With such underrepresentation, fewer people are available overall to work in high-tech, putting the nation at a disadvantage compared with China and India, where universities are graduating hundreds of thousands of science and engineering students per year - in some cases with nearly equal numbers of women and men.
"We can ill afford to miss out on anyone with the right aptitude, skills and motivation to succeed in technical fields," ITAA President Harris N. Miller said.
By RACHEL KONRAD