Tech companies’ diversity
Photo by WOCinTech Chat (Flickr / CC BY / cropped from original)All of the above is interesting. That said, I hope these tech giants’ futureplans including hiring more Black workers. Per the most recent comprehensivefigures I could find: * Apple’s employee base is 9% Black. Only 3% are in leadership roles, however. * Amazon’s employee base is 26.5% Black as of 2019. However, the majority of these workers are in their distribution centers, versus technical or leadership roles. * Facebook’s employee base is 3.8% Black. * As of 2018, 2.6% of Google’s US employees are Black. * As of 2020, 4.9% of Microsoft’s US employees are Black.The numbers for Latinx employees at tech companies aren’t much better.Overall, the tech industry’s US employment base is estimated at 7% Black and8% Latinx; the US population meanwhile is 13% Black and 18% Latinx. While I’mglad to see tech companies observe Juneteenth, it’d mean more if they hired amore diverse staff.As for the future of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, I expect it’ll besimilar to Martin Luther King Day: some companies will give the day off, aswell as some local governments and schools, but otherwise it’ll still be awork day for most people. Not helping is that it’s sandwiched between MemorialDay several weeks earlier and Independence Day two weeks later; also, the USis pretty stingy compared to other countries regarding paid time off.Photo by WOCinTech Chat (Flickr / CC BY / cropped from original)
Much More Than A Holiday: How Tech Companies Should Commemorate JuneteenthJuneteenth (June 19) in a desktop calendar – also known as Freedom Day,Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, … [+] and Emancipation Day – is a holidaycelebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the UnitedStates.gettyAlthough Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, thenews didn’t reach the enslaved people located in Galveston, Texas until June19, 1865. Recognized as the official end of enslaved people in the U.S., thisday has been celebrated for years in the Black community as Juneteenth. But inthe wake of the Black Lives Matter movement that took place in 2020, wide-reaching recognition of Juneteenth surged, particularly within the techindustry.Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, was the first major CEO to announcethat Juneteenth would be a paid holiday for employees. Soon after, many oftech’s largest companies announced their respective plans to commemorate theday. Various other industries jumped aboard too, with Juneteenth providing anadditional moment for companies to take stock of their awareness of challengesfacing the Black community, lay out their commitments to taking positiveaction to address these challenges, audit their own Diversity, Equity,Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) initiatives, and even, celebrate the day on theirmarketing and social media channels.While recognition of such a historic day is necessary – and to state theobvious, long overdue – especially as Black and other non-white malecommunities continue to be marginalized, it’s all too easy for companies toappear opportunistic, or worse, tone-deaf. Participation here is not a one-and-done, token action. Tech companies need to ensure they take more actionsto make real change in addressing racism in tech, not just on June 19, butthroughout every day of every year.I am fully aware that if a leader of any company, tech or not, is only nowawakening to racism in this country, you might be wondering how exactly tocombat racism in your workplace, and you may feel like you are walking into aminefield. It is critical that you don’t shrink back. If you do your homework,take an authentic and thoughtful approach, and adhere to the followingrecommendations, you can begin to honor Juneteenth with the respect itdeserves. Below are some best practices:Decide to and take action and make a 5- to 10-year plan. This doesn’t mean youtake 5 to 10 years to get started. It means you set aggressive goals tied to astrategy, with set metrics to be shared internally and externally,understanding one or two token gestures are not likely to be enough. Your planshould include education about the impacts of racism, inclusive of anti-Blackness, both historically and present-day, both on Black employees and allemployees in general. Books such as “The Black Tax,” by Shawn D. Rochester,“The Sum of Us,” by Heather McGhee, as well as other books authored by BlackAmericans can serve as excellent resources on inequality and the lessons thatgenerations of Americans have failed to learn about its negative effects, bothon the Black community and our nation as a whole.Be prepared to answer for past missteps. Every company has made mistakes. Bebold, unafraid (or do it afraid!), and resolute that you, as your company’sleader, will become accountable to stay the course, continue learning, andtake appropriate steps to improve your company’s practices and racial climate.Don’t let fear be a deterrent. Make a plan to address naysayers, includingyour “frozen middle” – the middle level of employees that are historically themost reluctant to change – which may rise up to reject DEIB initiatives.Continuously evaluate and score. Make equal pay, promotion evaluation,disaggregated data collection, and other methods of continuous evaluation ofwhere your company scores on issues of racial, ethnic, gender, representation,age, and any other characteristic which has been used to create a marginalizedcultural impact on segments of your population. Economic injustice is one ofthe first and most pervasive results of racism and bias over which you canimmediately correct within your company. Maintaining disaggregated data onsalary and promotions by gender, race, ethnicity, and identity will helpexpose the areas that need your immediate attention. When you identify issues,address them.Create a buddy system. Sometimes the basics learned in elementary school canbe applied in the workplace. Having a buddy system where you coordinateefforts and ideas, if possible, with other like-minded leaders can supportyour progress and keep you from giving up should difficult challenges arise.Linking up with your peers can help keep you honest, accountable, and focusedon the road ahead.Look beyond your company and employees. While incorporating DEIB within yourbusiness’ walls is imperative, it is also important to include additionaloutreach that will impact the communities from which you draw your businesssuccess. Advocate for equal pay, daycare services, voting rights, equitableeducation funding, college debt cancellation, non-racist policing, and othersocial and economic justice legislation. By doing so, you are using yourplatform to help accelerate needed change in our nation’s communities andsetting great examples for others to follow.Tech leaders have the opportunity to honor Juneteenth the right way this year,starting a trend for every year after. While reflection and education are onepart of it, the real honor in commemorating Juneteenth is through concreteactions that help remove systemic barriers and move Black communities forward.Racial Diversity In Tech By The NumbersI collected and analyzed employment data by race for 57 of the biggest techemployers in the US (1). Here are the top level conclusions: * Black and Hispanic/Latinx employees are significantly under-represented in tech relative to their overall percentage of the US population. * 67% of tech companies are made up of less than 5% of Black employees. * Controlling for overall racial disparities in tech hiring, white employees are significantly over-represented in leadership positions while all other racial groups are under-represented. * Despite the fact that all US companies with at least 100 employees have to file an EEO-1 (which shows the racial composition of their employee base) only 16 out of 57 companies have recently made this data public. * Here’s how you can help to encourage your company to be more open about their diversity practices.Table of contents 1. White employees are heavily over-represented in tech leadership 2. Employees of color are under-represented in tech 3. What you can do to help 4. Open diversity data project
White Employees Are Over-Represented In Tech Leadership
It seems to be well known that racial minorities are under-represented in techrelative to their makeup of the US population. This is true (see the nextsection). What might be lesser known is that racial minorities are heavilyunder-represented in tech leadership roles even when you control for the factthat they are under-represented at these companies as a whole.What does representative leadership in a company mean? It simply means thatyou’d expect the racial makeup of leadership in a company to resemble theoverall racial makeup of that company. Simply put, if 10% of a company is madeup of Black employees then equal representation means that 10% of leadershipis also Black.That is largely not the case in our data. The diagonal line in the scatter-plots below demarcates representative leadership within a company. If acompany is above the line for a given race, that means a larger percentage ofleadership is that race relative to the overall makeup of the company (over-representation in leadership). Conversely, if a company is below the line thenleadership is under-representative of the racial makeup of the company (under-representation in leadership).
Comparison between the racial composition of employees at tech companies
relative to the racial composition of leadership at those companies
Data from 33 US based tech companies for US employees (2). The diagonal
line represents a 1:1 relationship between the % of leaders in a company thatare a given race relative to the overall % of employees of that race at acompany.You can see that nearly 100% of companies in this dataset have an over-representation of white employees in leadership positions relative to thepercentage of those companies overall that are white. All other racial groupsare largely under-representated in leadership. 94% of companies under-represent Hispanic/ Latinx employees in leadership positions, 82% under-represent Black employees in leadership, and 91% under-represent Asianemployees in leadership.How does this representation change when we aggregate this data acrosscompanies? For this comparison, I had to limit my analysis to the 16 companiesthat recently released an EEO-1 (3). We created a single metric to conveywhether a given racial group has equal representation in leadership relativeto their overall representation in these companies.To do this I divided the % of leadership across all companies that are a givenrace by the % of employees at these companies that are a given race. So if, inaggregate, these companies have equal racial representation between theiremployees and their leadership this metric will have a value of 1. Over-representation in leadership will have a value greater than 1 and under-representation will have a value less than 1.
Comparison between the total racial composition of leadership at tech
companies divided by the total racial composition of employees at thosecompanies
Data from 16 US based tech companies for US employees with recently
released EEO-1 data. *Aggregate of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander,American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Two Or More Races.This demonstrates that white tech employees are the only racial group that areover-represented in leadership in aggregate (as we’d expect from the scatter-plots). All other racial groups are under-represented. More than that, itshows that a white employee at a tech company is twice as likely as a Blacktech employee to be represented in a leadership role. Another way of puttingthis is if 10% of a tech company is made up of white employees, you’d expect12% of the leadership of that company to be white. If 10% of that company wereBlack, you’d expect only 6% of leadership to be Black.
Employees of color are under-represented in tech
Not only are employees of color under-represented in leadership positions intech, they are also under-represented in tech in non-leadership positions. Forthis analysis we looked at the employee counts by race for 35 US based techcompanies (4) and compared them to the overall racial makeup of the USpopulation (5).
Data from 35 US based tech companies for US employees. *Aggregate of
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan Native, andTwo Or More Races.Hispanic/Latinx and Black people are the most under-represented in techrelative to their representation in the US. While Hispanic/Latinx make up 18%of the US population, they only account for 8% of employees in tech in ourdata. Black people make up 13% of the US population but only 5% of employeesin tech. Conversely, while Asian people make up 6% of the US population theycomprise 29% of tech employees.The bar chart above looked at aggregated data across 35 of the largest USbased tech companies. To avoid smaller companies in our data being drowned outby larger companies I also wanted to look at representation of Black employeesin tech while controlling for company size. To do that I bucketed companiesbased on the percentage of their employees that were Black.
Data from 35 US based tech companies for US employees.
Not a single company in our data has more than 12% Black employees. 67% ofcompanies have fewer than 5% Black employees while 89% of companies have fewerthan 8% Black employees. Compound this with the under-representation in techleadership and a startling picture emerges of how people of color truly don’thave a seat at the table in tech. In fact, they’re not even at the restaurant.
As a tech employee, demand accountability
If you work at a tech company and you have more than 100 US employees at yourcompany, you should demand accountability from those in charge. Write an emailto your executive leadership requesting they release their 2018 EEO-1demographic data (2019 was postponed to 2021 due to Covid). Ask yourcolleagues to do the same. Here’s an email you can use:> “Hello (name),>> I know as a company we’re committed to having a diverse and inclusive> workplace. To further that commitment I strongly believe that we should be> transparent about our progress towards that mission. To that end I think we> should publicly share our EEO-1 demographic data.>> This will enable us to keep ourselves publicly accountable to our goal. It> will signal to prospective employees that we are truly committed to becoming> more diverse.>> Thanks,>> (your name)”If you succeed please send the EEO-1 my way so I can add it to this post.
As a business leader, share your EEO-1
If your company has 100 or more employees, send me your EEO-1. If you haveless than 100 employees, just send me the breakout of your company andleadership by race. If you have any questions please reach out.Send it to me. Send it as an image, a PDF. Send it via carrier pigeon or maila hand-written note in hieroglyphics. I don’t care. The more data we have thequicker we can act on that data.Better yet, please send your diversity data to email@example.com and I’llupdate this page to include your information.
Open Diversity Data Project
I want to publicly share the source of my data for two reasons: 1. So others can continue this analysis 2. To hold tech companies accountableI want this to be a living document. I want all tech companies to publiclyshare their diversity data so that it can be analyzed and scrutinized bypeople smarter than me. Please send your diversity data firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll update this table with your information.With that said, here is where I got my data for my analysis (a blank cellmeans I couldn’t find anything for the given company) 1. I looked at the largest US based internet and technology companies and tried to obtain their employment statistics by race. I also included two smaller companies (Buffer and 23andme that I knew reported on diversity data). First, I tried to find recent EEO-1s for each company. The EEO-1 is a standardized form that US companies with greater than 100 employees have to file with the US government each year. Only 17 of the 57 companies I analyzed publicly shared this information. 16 of the companies had EEO-1s from 2016, 2017, or 2018 so they were included in my dataset. Due to Covid, 2019 EEO-1s don’t have to be filed until 2021. One company, Amazon, hasn’t shared their EEO-1 since 2014 so I used their self-reported data instead. If a company didn’t share their EEO-1 I looked to see if they self-reported diversity numbers on their website. In total 19 companies that didn’t disclose their EEO-1 self-reported diversity numbers to some degree. Unfortunately, these weren’t standardized. I wanted the breakdown of racial composition for leadership positions, tech positions, non-tech positions, and overall company makeup. I will detail my methodology for how I standardized self-reported diversity data for different comparisons I do throughout this article. 2. These scatterplots use data from 33 companies. Data for 16 of these companies come from their self-reported EEO-1s. 13 of these EEO-1s are from 2018, 1 is from 2017, and 2 are from 2016. The EEO-1s require that companies break out their employee counts by different job classifications. We categorized all “Executive/ Sr Officals & Mgrs” and “First/Mid Officials & Mgrs” as leadership. For the remaining 17 companies we relied on self-reported diversity data. All 17 of these companies gave the percentages (not totals) of employees by race at the overall company and the percentage of employees by race in leadership. Unfortunately, the definition of “leadership” changes company to company (and sometimes companies don’t define that term when they share this data) so the comparison isn’t directly apples to apples across companies. Still, it is helpful in looking at the racial composition of employees in power in tech relative to the overall composition of these companies. 5 of the companies that self-reported gave data from 2020, 11 from 2019, and 1 from 2017. 3. Per the second footnote above, we can only get counts of employees in leadership positions by race through an EEO-1. Since companies that self-report diversity data only report percentages and don’t rigorously define “leadership”, there is no way to aggregate counts across those companies. 4. In total, our data has 645,996 employees. For 16 of the 35 companies we used the EEO-1 mentioned in footnotes (1) and (2). For the other 19 companies we relied on their self-reported data on the makeup of their companies by race. These companies don’t give total employee counts by race so to approximate employee counts I looked at the total number of US based employees on LinkedIn at the time in which each company self-reported their data. While not a perfect measure, it’s a reasonable approximation for US employee count. For this analysis we excluded Amazon which totals 183,322 employees. The reason being that the majority of their work-force is concentrated in their warehouse (lower paying jobs) unlike all other companies in our data. Their most recent EEO-1 from 2014 shows that 53.8% of their workforce are “Laborers & Helpers” and people of color are largely over-represented in this work-force so including them severely and in my opinion, unfairly, overstates representation of people of color in tech. 5. US population data comes from the US Census.Tech companies just found out about Juneteenth, and this is what they’re doingIn light of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDadeand Rayshard Brooks, as well as the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Juneteenth hasquickly made its way onto the radar of tech companies.On June 19, 1865, slaves in Galveston, Texas, became aware of their freedom.This was about two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered inVirginia and more than two-and-half years after President Abraham Lincoln’sEmancipation Proclamation.In the last couple of weeks, many tech companies have announced plans to makeJuneteenth an official holiday for employees or recognize the day in someother way. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Twitter, was the first major techCEO to announce that Juneteenth would be a paid holiday for employees. Sincethen, companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Uber and Lyft have announcedtheir own respective plans to commemorate the day.Today, Lyft announced its plans to host a Juneteenth panel about theimportance of Juneteenth and share a Juneteenth bike route map via Citi Bike.This is in addition to giving employees the day off.“At Lyft, we recognize that we have more work to do beyond a single action,and celebrating Juneteeth is just one step in our journey,” the company wrotein a blog post. “We are committed to do our best in both material and publicways.”Other plans by companies include encouraging employees to use the day as atime to learn about racial injustice or to officially commemorate the day onGoogle Calendar. It’s worth noting that Apple added Juneteenth to its iOScalendar back in 2018.Recognition of such a historic day is good. But the way these companies arepublicly announcing their plans, seeking press as they do, suggests their needfor some affirmative pat on the back. It’s perfectly acceptable to do theright thing and not get credit for it. It shows humility. It shows that acompany is more interested in doing right by its workers than it is in savingface.Sure, had these companies not gone public with their respective Juneteenthplans, it’s possible other companies would not have followed suit. But beyonddeciding to celebrate Juneteenth, making statements about standing with theBlack community and donating money, companies need to ensure they take morethan just actions to combat racism in tech.Instead, as Hustle Crew founder Abadesi Osunsade has said, tech companies needto go beyond one-off actions and form habits around racial justice work.Forming habits around hiring Black people, promoting Black employees, payingBlack employees fairly, funding Black founders and making room for Blackpeople in leadership positions is what will lead to concrete change in thisindustry.Meanwhile, in response to recent events of police violence, many techcompanies have made paradoxical statements. Many of the statements of supportare devoid of meaning when you consider how some companies fail to creatediverse workforces, respond to hate speech on their platforms and/or continueto hold contracts with police departments.Today, Facebook announced it would spend at least $100 million annually withBlack-owned suppliers. Earlier this month, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanianstepped down from the company’s board of directors to make room for a Blackperson. Meanwhile, folks over at the Kapor Center for Social Impact areencouraging staff to use Juneteenth as a day of service in the Blackcommunity. These are all steps in the right direction — steps that can resultin lasting change in the tech industry. Let’s see more of those.“Yes, Juneteenth is just one day, and we have yet to see how the nation willrespond to the injustices in the months and years to come,” Kapor Center ChiefPeople Officer Matt Perry wrote in a blog post. “Here’s to hoping the actionsthat we take this Juneteenth can be a catalyst for sustainable change… andaction.”Full disclosure, TechCrunch recently decided to make Juneteenth a holiday andI’m here for it.