we had something similar to this in the late 90s when kickpress workers and fabricators were starting to get replaced by multi-axis milling machines and fluidform/laser. almost overnight we had a crisis where we needed more people who could do CAD/CAM, because while im sure managers saved a bunch of money handing out pink slips to the line workers they were losing a hell of a lot of money on trying to find a good desk jockey who didnt crash tools and wreck parts every hour. Management offered hundred dollar bonuses if we could convince someone to join the team and this worked for a while until someone started complaining about diversity and asking why we didnt have it.
we didnt have black or latino CNC or SPC guys because most of them never saw a promotion. Its not racism --nobody was yelling bigoted obscenities-- but the managers in charge of lining up bonuses and promotions came from an ancient era where brown people were still some subset fraction of an actual person. the ones that got promoted didnt see much of a raise either, at least at the North Carolina shops i worked at. When the diversity hammer started to swing too close to the portly boss-types, they made excuses until retirement. Either they promoted a hard work ethic, or they were trying to drive cost.
and women? we had women but they were all in the office stamping paychecks and handling HR claims, or in shipping. we had welders, good female welders, but management fired them once we started shipping the parts to missouri, then mexico for final weld. The management came down hard on us for creating hostile work environments, and sure in some cases that was true. The worst shop i was in had 3 sexual harassment meetings in a year. But to tell the truth, it was probably the pay or the fact that if you left for maternity, you usually lost your job. I worked at a place that ran an entire diversity job fair for a year before realizing the factory area we worked in never had a womens locker room, so incompetence can certainly be attributed..
but programming? what barriers exist? i mean christ its every day im online seeing courses or classes, or getting some handout from a government agency that encourages me to take a spreadsheet class or something. programming is an office job; is an office a hostile workplace?? why is it so hard to just give someone the damn job so long as they have enough sense not to chooch up the work? why is there a percentage to achieve?