A Migrant's Journey in Pursuit of Career Growth
My recent experience applying for a senior IT position in a company.
As someone who has spent nearly two decades in a "new" country, I've encountered my fair share of challenges and triumphs. Recently, an opportunity arose that had the potential to elevate my career to new heights. However, the experience left me reflecting on the issue of diversity in the workplace and its impact on career progression.
When my previous manager approached me about applying for a senior position in the IT department, I was filled with hope and excitement. This role is the perfect chance for me to take a significant step forward in my career.
In preparation for the application process, I delved into researching the company. What I discovered, though, left me genuinely surprised and disheartened. Despite its size and prominence, the company exhibited a striking lack of diversity. It appeared that there were only a handful of non-white individuals within the entire organization. The position involved a mix of people management, internal IT process setup, and high-level architecture. I felt confident in my abilities to handle the responsibilities. Still, a nagging concern lingered—how would I fit into an environment lacking diversity, and to what extent could I influence positive change?
Despite my qualifications and proven track record, the interview process left me with a lingering doubt about my chances. After a week and a half of anticipation, the agent finally contacted me to deliver the news—I did not get the job.
I shared my perspective on the process in an open conversation with the agent. While he attempted to defend the company's decision, he candidly admitted that the successful candidate aligned with the current racial composition of the organization. This acknowledgment served as a confirmation of my initial assumption.
I am not woke and definitely not a "crybaby". This outcome was not entirely surprising, yet it left me with a profound sense of sadness. I understand one of the important aspects of having great influence is being able to fit in naturally. But as a migrant who has gone through so much "bias" during my career and achieving what I have now, it seems to me breaking through into senior technology leadership positions remains a formidable challenge. I've persevered for many years, but the question of whether things will improve for my children remains uncertain.