Yahoo, LinkedIn, Google: Not A Diverse Club - InformationWeek

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Yahoo, LinkedIn, Google: Not A Diverse Club

Yahoo joined LinkedIn and Google in releasing workplace diversity statistics. They tell the same tale: Silicon Valley is predominantly white and male.

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IT Salaries: 8 Cold Hard Facts
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Yahoo this week became the latest company to disclose workplace diversity stats, and its numbers reflect a troubling issue: Yahoo, like other Silicon Valley tech companies, has a diversity problem.

About 37% of Yahoo's 12,000 global workers are women, Yahoo said in a blog post, and just 23% of leadership -- defined as vice presidents and above -- are women. Yahoo did not provide commentary on its breakdowns, saying only that it is committed to attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse workforce.

"We're in the business of building products for hundreds of millions of users worldwide and that starts with having the best possible talent -- a Yahoo team that understands and reflects our diverse user base," said Jackie Reses, Yahoo's chief development officer. "These statistics are only part of the story -- Yahoo works to ensure that our existing employees feel welcome and supported during their time at the company."

[Recruiters share five strategies for landing this year's top talent. Read IT Jobs: Hot To Hire New Grads.]

In addition to the male-female breakdown, Yahoo provided data on the ethnicity of its workforce. Globally, 50% of Yahoo's workers are white, 39% are Asian, with the remainder identifying as Hispanic (4%), Black (2%), mixed race (2%), and other (2%).

In the US, 35% of tech roles at Yahoo are held by white people while 57% of tech roles are held by Asians. Leadership roles in the US are overwhelmingly white, at 78%.

Diversity at Google
Yahoo's workplace diversity disclosure followed ones from Google and LinkedIn in the last several weeks. Google was the first company to release statistics, acknowledging in a blog post that it was not pleased with its progress.  

"We've always been reluctant to publish numbers about the diversity of our workforce at Google. We now realize we were wrong, and that it's time to be candid about the issues," said Laszlo Bock, Google's SVP of people operations. "Put simply, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity, and it's hard to address these kinds of challenges if you're not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts."

Seventy percent of all Google workers are male, the company said. Looking specifically at the tech roles at Google, women represent just 17% of the workforce. Leadership roles at Google tell the same tale: 21% are held by women while 79% are held by men.

Broken down by ethnicity, 61% of jobs at Google are held by white people, according to Google while Asians (30%), mixed races (4%), Hispanic (3%), and Black (2%) comprise the remainder of the workforce. Leadership roles are predominantly white (72%), followed by Asian (23%), Black (2%), and mixed races (1.5%).

Google said that one reason for its skewed diversity statistics is because there are fewer women and minorities pursuing computer science degrees.

"For example, women earn roughly 18% of all computer science degrees in the United States. Blacks and Hispanics each make up under 10% of US college grads and each collect fewer than 10% of degrees in CS majors," Bock said. "But we're first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be -- and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution."

Diversity at LinkedIn
Last week, LinkedIn released details about its workforce diversity, acknowledging that it, too, has work to do.

Of LinkedIn's 5,400 global employees 39% are female and hold just 27% of executive roles in the US, according to LinkedIn's EEO-1 filing. On the ethnicity front, 53% of US workers are white, followed by Asian (38%), Hispanic (4%), Black (2%), two or more races (2%), and other (<1%).

LinkedIn's head of talent, Pat Wadors, said while LinkedIn has grown over the past few years to become a global company, it needs to improve overall diversity.

"True inclusion is something that can only be achieved through a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our member base, and this is something we strive to do in all of our hiring efforts," she said. "While it's easy for tech companies to form partnerships with organizations that can promote a more balanced workplace diversity, there is a cycle of responsibility associated with transparency."

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Kristin Burnham currently serves as's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 5:06:01 PM
Re: Why no age data??
I think that's already the case.  STEM is a huge problem for the US right now.  The off-shore scare around Y2K seems to have decimated native interest.  Can't say that I blame folks for resenting not being paid what we are probably worth but even with H1Bs keeping wages lower than otherwise, I think most still don't have a lot to worry about.  I'm not saying we're rich or that we should just consider ourselves fortunate and keep quiet but there are a lot of far less attractive occupations that pay even less.
User Rank: Apprentice
6/18/2014 | 5:58:49 PM
Re: Diversity
Getting women and Blacks/Hispanics interested in engineering is an ongoing effort. That is where the emphasis should be, not in creating positions for unqualified applicants that checked a certain box on a racial questionnaire, and that behavior is confusing race with actual culture. Anyway since affirmative action for college admissions is not allowed in places like California, the recruitment for these people groups to enter STEM fields of study in college has to be done in and before High School. To be good enough to take advantage of those classes and go to the right colleges, any deficiencies in these areas needs to be shored up by the beginning of Middle School so that the student will not be left behind. Trying to hire mediocre talent in a desperate attempt to match the racial profile of some user base is not going to cut it when we have foreign competition that comes from a better educational system and works for much less. Welcome to the real and modern world where things are not just given to you because of the color of your skin or the fact you have a Y-chromosome. That is the definition of racism and sexism and was looked down by all intelligent people starting in the later part of the 20th century.
User Rank: Apprentice
6/18/2014 | 9:24:38 PM
Diversity versus competency
If only there was some amount of emphasis on competency, as there is on diversity. Google and LinkedIn are successful business, and Yahoo is a failing business. At the end of the day, they are all business entities, and they are not part of some communist agenda that ensures equality for all brothers and sisters. If these kinds of *diversity* practises are applied to a business in the US, then investors will have no choice but to run the business offshore, in countries where the focus is on competency. But if the American HR practise insists on standing the way of business innovation and profitability, then perhaps a better option would be to keep the business (and jobs) in the US, while outsourcing the HR function to 3rd party professional employment organizations, both on and offshore.
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