The Large Majority Of Conservatives Working In Silicon Valley Feel Uncomfortable, Says Survey

Eric Lieberman | Tech and Law Reporter

A large majority of conservatives feel uncomfortable working in Silicon Valley, according to a survey published Friday by the Lincoln Network.

Roughly 89 percent and 74 percent of people who identified as “very conservative” or “conservative,” respectively, said they are hesitant of being themselves at work. More than two-thirds of libertarians, which were the the largest portion of respondents in the overall study, said the same.

In contrast, only 30 percent and 36 percent of Silicon Valley employees who identify as “very liberal” or “liberal” are reluctant to be their true selves.

“Despite being a co-founder, I STILL feel uncomfortable talking about a wide range of topics,” an unnamed “moderate,” a group that answered 50 percent for the aforementioned prompt, told the Lincoln Network. “I fear that if my team knew bout my politics, more than half would quit on the spot.”

Polling 387 people in the California-based tech industry, with employers like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, Amazon and Apple, the survey also showed that conservatives and libertarians were significantly more likely to leave their career because of conflicts in view points.

“I refuse to consider working for Google after their reaction to the [James] Damore memo,” explained an anonymous libertarian. “I no longer consider some friends of mine who work in the industry people I can trust, after hearing them publicly discuss their approval of James Damore’s firing (as well as other systematic gender and ethnic issues).”

In fact, this insight into one person’s mind seems to reflect a larger trend stemming from Google’s handling of the Damore situation. (RELATED: Google CEO After Firing Engineer: ‘People Must Be Free To Express Dissent’)

Only a larger amount of “very liberal” respondents said they feel more comfortable sharing their ideological viewpoints following the termination of Damore’s employment than not. The other end of the political spectrum, as well as libertarians, said they feel way less at ease in expressing personal convictions.

“I have lost multiple talented colleagues who resigned rather than continue in the fact of an increasingly extreme, narrow-minded, and regressive environment here at Google,” said another self-identified libertarian. “It’s terrifying here. A real horror show. Every day could be my last.”

Many conservatives and libertarians — even including some “very liberal” respondents” — said they feel being at odds with workplace norms affects their ability to complete the best work possible.

“I called in sick after election day in order to avoid all conversations about the election,” one conservative said in a one-on-one interview with a Lincoln Network questioner.

“There is a concerted purge of conservative employees at Apple,” said a libertarian.

Overall, while it’s only a very small sample size relatively, it could potentially serve as a microcosm of the conditions at the massive tech hub known as Silicon Valley. Conservatives, and even others like libertarians and Independents, have long worried that the liberal ideals personally espoused by the executives at companies like Google and Apple would trickle down into company policy.

“This survey is just the starting point for a broader national conversation Lincoln Network is facilitating to improve work environments, which in turn improves company profitability,” said Garrett Johnson, co-founder and executive director of Lincoln Network. “By treating employees with tolerance and respecting differing viewpoints, this allows employees to be more fully invested in their team.”

Other interesting pieces of information include 48 percent of respondents stating they are atheist or agnostic. Only 13 percent of survey participants associate with Catholicism, with 5 percent answering Judaism, and 14 percent Protestantism.

Also, only 13 percent of the respondents were women, potentially showing that there weren’t that many to correspond with in the first place, another point of contention for many, especially after a year or so of reckoning for many tech companies and their leaders.

In fact, 10 percent of women in the tech world report “unwanted sexual attention,” according to a different survey.

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