Back in May, Google became the first major Internet company to disclose its workforce diversity data to the public. Since then, more of tech’s big names -- LinkedIn, Yahoo, and most recently, Facebook -- have followed suit and published their own employment statistics. While Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Facebook are four different companies with different products in different sectors, there is a troubling, but not-so-shocking sameness to the diversity of their workforces. There is a lot of work to be done, but these businesses are starting to take action.
Sixty to seventy percent of the workforce at each company are male; white employees make up over 50% of total employees across all four companies; the percentages of Asian employees ranges from 30%-39%, and all four companies employ only 2% of black and 3-4% of Latino workers.
Each company has conceded that making these statistics public is their first step on the long road to solving tech’s inclusion problem, and have made clear that they won’t stop at these revelations. The starkness of their data has presented an imperative to act, and all four have introduced initiatives such as partnerships with pipeline organizations and the implementation of employee resource groups to improve their recruitment and retention.
- Google has over 13 employee resource groups ranging from Ethnic groups, sexual orientation, and age, that aim to provide support communities and discuss targeted recruitment and retention initiatives.
- Partnered with HBCUs such as Howard to elevate coursework and attendance in CS.
- Hosts education outreach programs, talent development programs, and technical conferences and events worldwide, while also sponsoring conferences put on by external organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, the AdColor Industry Coalition, and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
- Partners with organizations that work to increase the diversity of talent in tech including: Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology, American Association of People with Disabilities, Leadership Education and Development, and Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.
- Partners with organizations that promote women in technology, including the Anita Borg institute; and sponsor development events such as the Grace Hopper Conference.
- Created and pioneered DevelopHer, an annual women’s hackday to engage and support women in tech.
- Partnered with Management Leadership for Tomorrow, an organization aimed at career development for black, Latino, and Native Americans.
- Sponsored the 2014 Out & Equal Workplace Summit to work towards an end to employment discrimination for LGBTQ employees.
- Supports a wide range of employee resource groups to create an inclusive workplace environment and engaged workplace environment.
- Yahoo!’s Women in Tech group hosts an annual Yahoo! Women Working Wonders event as well as partners with organizations such as Girl Geek Dinner that bring together female-identified technologists and aspiring women in tech for networking events around the world.
- Hosts Facebook University, a program that provides undergraduate freshman from underrepresented groups with internships at Facebook.
- Partners with pipeline programs such as Girls Who Code, Code 2040, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and Management Leadership for Tomorrow.
- Works with Yes We Code to help connect 100,000 youth to computer programming education programs.
- Provide unconscious bias training for employees to help staff recognize and stop racism and sexism they may unknowingly exhibit.
- Supports employee resource groups for staff from diverse ethnic, cultural, and contextual backgrounds.
With four of tech’s biggest players outing their diversity data, companies like Apple and Amazon are becoming more conspicuous in their discretion. Getting #diversity trending in the tech industry is one thing, but making it stick for the long term with lasting change is another. As companies become more transparent and vocal about what they are doing and hope to do to improve diversity in the workplace--best practices and ultimately, an industry standard are being set as we speak. Alongside sales and profits, a diverse workforce is now a priority and marker of a successful, forward-thinking company.