Tech Companies Have A Major Diversity Problem — And Twitter's The Worst
Prepare for the urge to throw all your favorite tech gadgets directly into File 13.
Several of the United States' seminal technology companies have released Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO-1) reports for the year 2014 -- in short, they're a list of stats regarding their diversity in staffing -- and while some of these companies have disavowed the statistics contained in the reports as not completely representative of their "progress toward diversity" (to borrow Apple's phrase), the numbers are still very disturbing.
One in particular.
The Verge collated the reports and created a series of interactive charting tools to present the numbers reported in an easily consumable bar chart format, and one staggeringly low percentile stood out the most: that is, the fact that Twitter's employee make-up consists of 0% black women (14 out of 2,910 total employees).
See the face palm-inducing chart for yourself.
By contrast, the company employs 17% white women, 8% Asian women, 1% Hispanic women and 1% other (which is said to include biracial, American-Indian or Alaskan individuals, native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders). The other 72% is made up of males -- 43% white, 25% Asian, and 1% each for black, Hispanic and other males.
Broken down in numerical format, the 2,910 employees at Twitter are comprised as follows:
White males: 1,259 (43%)
White females: 501 (17%)
Asian males: 723 (25%)
Asian females: 247 (8%)
Hispanic males: 39 (1%)
Black males: 35 (1%)
Other males: 34 (1%)
Hispanic females: 29 (1%)
Other females: 29 (1%)
Black females: 14 (0%)
Some of the other tech giants included in the report aren't much better, coming in at just 1% black women staffed -- including Facebook (employs 29 black women among its 5,479 person staff), Google (250 out of 32,527), Intel (447 out of 53,732), and Microsoft (687 out of 60,961).
Perhaps even more staggering is the lack of diversity among executive and senior level officials and managers of these companies.
Twitter, Microsoft and Google, for example, have exactly zero black women (as in none at all -- not just a percentage point!) in such positions, while Facebook, Intel and Amazon each have just one. Apple tops the chart with a whopping two black females in upper-level positions.
On average, as calculated by The Verge's metrics, those positions are given to white males 65% of the time, with white females claiming 14%, Asian males following with 13%, Asian females comprising 3%, Hispanic males at 2%, Hispanic females at 1%, black males at 1%, and black females comprising less than 1%.
While it seems that none of the companies have responded directly to this report, several have publicly shared their efforts to encourage diversity in the past. Facebook, for example, shared its “internal diversity training” program back in July. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company’s “managing unconscious bias” program “help[s] employees recognize unconscious prejudices so workers can reduce their negative effects.”
Twitter has also been public with its efforts to be more inclusive. In August, Twitter’s VP of Diversity and Inclusion, Janet Van Huysse, wrote a post on the site’s blog titled “We’re committing to a more diverse Twitter.” In the post, Van Huysse shared the Twitter’s “company-wide hiring goals,” such as increasing female hires to make up 35% of its staff, and boosting “underrepresented minorities” to comprise 35% of its staff.
While the numbers found in the The Verge's report are certainly striking, at least the companies seem to be aware of the problem. Let's hope real change comes soon.