Pinterest’s Plan for Greater Diversity

Pinterest Diversity

For the past few years, various tech companies throughout Silicon Valley (and beyond) have bemoaned their lack of diversity, and pledged to do better. Pinterest is no exception; and rather than outline its solution in vague terms, the social network has decided to offer up its hiring goals for 2016.

Those goals include increasing the hiring rates for full-time engineers to 30 percent female and 8 percent “underrepresented ethnic backgrounds.” Hiring rates for non-engineering roles, meanwhile, will increase to 12 percent “underrepresented ethnic backgrounds.”

Pinterest will also interview at least one female candidate and one person from an underrepresented background for every leadership position.

“We’ve made some modest progress over the past year, with our number of female employees growing from 40% to 42%, engineering interns increasing from 32% to 36% female, and women engineers hired out of school increasing from 28% to 33%,” Evan Sharp, Pinterest’s co-founder and chief creative officer, wrote in a July 30 corporate blog posting. “But we have more work to do to increase the number of employees from all underrepresented backgrounds.”

(As you can see from the graph above, Pinterest’s current engineering ranks stand at 19 percent female; its business team is 66 percent female.)

Like Google and other tech companies, Pinterest plans on expanding the number of universities from which it recruits; it will also create an internal group focused on experimenting with new ways to improve diversity. Every employee will participate in a training program designed to prevent unconscious bias; one of the company’s engineers (unnamed in the blog posting) will lead a training and mentorship program to “maximize the impact of black software engineers and students.”

Sharp claims that Pinterest will post public updates about “what’s working and what isn’t as we go.” But if the company’s experience mirrors that of other tech firms, it could be a long, slow process to swing the numbers.