SAN FRANCISCO -- Paradigm and Culture Amp, two companies leading the fight to bring more diversity to tech, have announced a joint effort to create an unprecedented, industrywide survey designed to reveal the real experiences of women, minorities and other underrepresented groups working in tech. The ultimate purpose of the inclusion survey is to put data behind anecdotal evidence that shows women and people of color face numerous challenges and unwelcoming cultures at companies in the tech industry.

Already, 70 companies have expressed their interest in taking part in the survey, and more can do so by signing up online

"Companies might say 'We don't have an issue. People are happy here.' But actually, when we compare the data, [we might find] that women don't feel they have the same opportunities as men or that black people don't feel they have the same opportunities as their comrades," said Bronwen Clune, Culture Amp director of content and communications. "We hope to expose those things."

Since early 2014, many tech companies have been posting annual diversity reports showing the gender and demographic breakdowns of their workforces, and though helpful, those reports have limited data to show. “This is taking it to the next level," Clune said, "to actually get some insight into what action companies can also take to improve in these areas."

Inclusion Survey Culture Amp and Paradigm are hoping their forthcoming inclusion survey will shed light on what it's like to be a woman and minority working in tech. Photo: Culture Amp and Paradigm

Additionally, the survey will be comprehensive and show what working in tech is like for people of all backgrounds, not just women and minorities. "The survey goes beyond gender and ethnicity (it includes far more underrepresented groups than that), and really is about how people from all backgrounds are experiencing the workplace,” said Joelle Emerson, founder and CEO of Paradigm.

The survey is set to be released to tech companies in the next few weeks. Once the surveys are completed by tech employees, Culture Amp and Paradigm will privately share each companies' results with them. They will also publicly share the industrywide results.

"Tech companies understand data. They speak that language," Clune said. "So they can look at [the survey results], and I think it's going to be very hard to deny that there is a problem."

Paradigm and Culture Amp are hoping the survey will help companies better understand their underrepresented employees and create more inclusive environments that will better retain women and minorities as well as help advance their careers. 

"Many companies that are working to build more diverse workforces make the mistake of focusing narrowly on recruiting," the two companies said in a note. "But unless these companies spend equal time building a culture where people from all backgrounds can feel like they belong, their efforts are unlikely to be successful."

For now, the two companies plan on making the inclusion survey available free to companies that are interested in using it, but in the future, they may decide to charge for the service.