Twitter Inc. (TWTR) revealed that 30 percent of its employees are female, a ratio in line with other technology companies, reinforcing concerns that there isn’t enough diversity in Silicon Valley.
Twitter’s leadership is 21 percent female, while just 10 percent of its technology-focused workforce are women, Janet Van Huysse, Twitter’s vice president of diversity and inclusion, wrote in a blog post yesterday. Almost 90 percent of Twitter’s staff of about 3,000 are white or Asian, the company said.
Twitter, which lets users share short messages, pictures and videos online, is the latest high-profile technology company to provide data on its workforce. Facebook Inc. (FB), Yahoo! Inc., Google Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. have made similar disclosures since May. A key challenge for the companies is finding more diverse candidates to fill positions in the first place, according to Miguel Unzueta, associate professor at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“Minority group members do have access to lower quality education at a younger level, and that usually means worse science and tech training, so I think it starts at a very young age” Unzueta said. “We see the outcomes of this at the Googles and Twitters of the world, but this, I think, starts way back in the education system.”
Twitter, based in San Francisco, said it’s making efforts to improve, including actively recruiting in under-represented communities such as women’s colleges. The company also is partnering with organizations such as Girls Who Code to boost diversity.
The data also show that the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley goes beyond software and engineering jobs.
In Twitter’s new report, women were better represented among non-technical jobs with half of the positions. Blacks made up just 2 percent of the total workforce, and Latinos contributed 3 percent.
“We are keenly aware that Twitter is part of an industry that is marked by dramatic imbalances in diversity,” wrote Van Huysse, who said she took on a new title after leading human resources at the company for four years. “And we are no exception.”
Twitter added its first female director, former Pearson Plc Chief Executive Officer Marjorie Scardino, in December after questions were raised about the board’s diversity. The absence of women on Twitter’s board was “a joke,” Sallie Krawcheck, a former Bank of America Corp. executive, said a month before Scardino’s appointment at a Bloomberg LP conference. It showed Silicon Valley was no better than Wall Street when it came to female representation, she said.
For Twitter, it’s good business to have its workforce reflect the “vast and varied background” of users around the world, Van Huysse said.
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