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Human Resources

Infoshot: Diversity in Tech Firms

Over the last couple of months, many of the big US tech companies have been releasing their diversity reports. It’s reinforced a fact most people have known for a while: Tech is a white man’s game.

While many of the companies have a fairly high proportion of women in the workforce, few are in tech or leadership roles. Pinterest’s Tracy Chou recently gathered info on the number of female software engineers at various startups and big tech companies.

Women make up about 16% of engineers from 150 startups. The only company with more than 100 engineers and more than a 20% female workforce is ThoughtWorks. Dropbox, Mozilla and Yelp’s engineering workforces are only 8% women, Github’s is 6%. 

But while gender and tech is an issue often brought up, ethnic diversity is also still a major issue. According to US census figures, the ethnic make-up of the country’s 317 million-odd people is around 16% Hispanic, 12% African America and 4.7% Asian. Look at the diversity reports of some of the US’ biggest tech firms however, and you’d get a very different picture.

Company

Female Workforce (In Tech Roles)

Asian

Hispanic

African American

Apple

30% (20%)

15%

11%

7%

eBay

42% (24%)

24%

5%

7%

Facebook

31% (15%)

34%

4%

2%

Google

30% (17%)

30%

3%

2%

Groupon

47% (18%)

15%

5%

4%

Indiegogo

45% (33%)

23%

8%

2%

LinkedIn

39% (17%) 

60%

3%

1%

Pandora

49.2% (17.9%)

12.3%

7.2%

3%

Pinterest

40% (21%)

42%

2%

1%

Polyvore

59% (26%)

48%

2.5%

0%

Twitter

30% (10%)

34%

3%

1%

Yahoo!

37% (15%)

39%

4%

2%

Tech companies seem to have a disproportionate amount of Asian workers compared to Hispanic or African American workers.  Most have fewer than 3% African American workers and 9% Hispanic, but 30% Asian – often within tech or leadership roles. Only Apple can say its company workforce is even close to the ethnic make-up of the country.

This isn’t to say companies should purposely go out of their way to hire Hispanic or African Americans over other ethnicities. Companies should hire the best people for the job irrelevant of other issues. But why there are so few people from certain communities when they make up a significant proportion of the population needs to be looked at.

09-10-2014-wit-iii

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