Twitter, Pinterest Release Diversity Numbers

Twitter Diversity July 2014

Twitter and Pinterest have become the latest brand-name tech companies to unveil gender and ethnic portraits of their workforce. The story they tell is pretty much the same as what we’ve seen in the previously released numbers of Facebook, Google and Yahoo.

Overall, 30 percent of Twitter’s employees are women. However, the number shrinks to 10 percent when you look at the company’s tech team and 21 percent when you look at its leadership. In terms of ethnicity, 59 percent of the workforce is white, 29 percent is Asian, 3 percent is Hispanic or Latino, and 2 percent is black. Looking at tech employees only, 58 percent are white, 34 percent are Asian, 3 percent are Hispanic or Latino, and 1 percent is black.

At Pinterest, women make up 40 percent of the company’s employees and 21 percent of its tech team. Its workforce is 50 percent white, 42 percent Asian, 2 percent Hispanic and 1 percent black.

In her blog post sharing the numbers, Janet Van Huysse, Twitter’s vice president of diversity and inclusion, said it makes “good business sense” to have a truly diverse workforce. “Research shows that more diverse teams make better decisions, and companies with women in leadership roles produce better financial results,” she wrote. “But we want to be more than a good business; we want to be a business that we are proud of.”

In addition to recruiting among under-represented populations, Huysse said Twitter is partnering with a variety of organizations to widen the diversity of its workforce, including Girls Who Code, Year Up and Out for Tech. The company is also providing “bias-mitigation training” to its employees. “By becoming more transparent with our employee data, open in dialogue throughout the company and rigorous in our recruiting, hiring and promotion practices, we are making diversity an important business issue for ourselves,” she said.

Tech companies say the lack of diversity reflects the pool of available talent and emphasize their efforts to encourage more women and minorities to pursue STEM degrees as a long-term solution. Some observers, however, say diversity is a governance issue: If leaderships wanted their workforce to be more diverse, they would be.

In May, Google kicked off a stream of announcements by tech companies sharing their diversity figures. Google said that just 30 percent of its employees are women, 3 percent are Hispanic and 2 percent are black. Several weeks later, Yahoo revealed its numbers: In the U.S., 50 percent of its employees are white, 39 percent are Asian, 4 percent are Hispanic and 2 percent are black. At Facebook, 57 percent of the overall workforce is white, while 34 percent is Asian, 4 percent is Hispanic and 2 percent is black.

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