EBay’s Workforce Is More Diverse Than Peers, Report Shows

EBay Inc. (EBAY) said women make up 42 percent of its staff and 7 percent of its U.S. employees are black, a more diverse workforce than many other Silicon Valley technology companies.

In a report today, the e-commerce company said 24 percent of its technical employees are female, along with 28 percent of its leadership ranks. Of EBay’s total U.S. workforce, 5 percent are Hispanic, while 85 percent are white or Asian, San Jose, California-based EBay said.

By comparison, diversity reports from Facebook Inc. (FB), Google Inc. and Twitter Inc. (TWTR) disclosed that women make up about 30 percent of staff and blacks about 2 percent. The wave of demographic reports follows calls for more disclosure and discussion on diversity in Silicon Valley, and the research has added fuel to the debate by showing workforces that are predominantly male and often white or Asian.

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“We believe sustained commitment can make a demonstrable difference,” EBay, which has more than 33,000 employees worldwide, said in a blog post. “We are far from satisfied. We will continue to strive for progress, and a stronger, better, more diverse EBay.”

EBay, which was founded in 1995, said it has focused on diversifying with a program started three years ago called Women’s Initiative Network. The effort, which seeks to attract and engage women in building long-term careers, has helped more than double the numbers in leadership roles, EBay said.

Recruitment Programs

The company also has worked to recruit minorities through programs targeting blacks and Hispanic groups. The company is actively recruiting gays and lesbians, along with veterans, according to the blog post.

While blacks make up a bigger percentage of EBay’s total U.S. ranks than some other technology companies, they hold 2 percent of leadership roles and 2 percent of technical jobs. The data reflects the company’s workforce through the end of the second quarter.

“EBay has taken a step in the right direction,” Jesse Jackson, founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said in a statement. “Like other tech companies, EBay said it has much work to do and pledged to do better.”

Google helped start the recent spate of diversity reports when it unveiled its data about two months ago. The company said women make up 30 percent of its staff, and hold 21 percent of the leadership roles and 17 percent of technical jobs. More than 90 percent of the U.S. staff are either white or Asian.

Lack of Experts

Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, highlighted in a blog post the lack of qualified minority and female technology experts, citing a U.S. Department of Education study that found women earn just 18 percent of computer-science degrees in the U.S., and that blacks and Hispanics each collect fewer than 10 percent of computer-science degrees.

The issue of diversity has received growing attention in the past few years. In 2013, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg highlighted the challenges facing women in leadership with her book “Lean In.” Still, women only make up 31 percent of the workforce at Facebook itself.

Other companies showed greater diversity. LinkedIn Corp.’s staff is 39 percent female, and Yahoo! Inc. was at 37 percent. Closely held Web startup Pinterest Inc.’s employees are 40 percent women.

The largest technology company yet to report is Apple Inc. Earlier this month, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the iPhone maker planned to eventually release information about the diversity of its workforce, without giving a time frame. A group of shareholders has pressed Apple to diversify its leadership ranks and board, which has two female directors, including this month’s addition of BlackRock Inc. co-founder Sue Wagner.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net Jillian Ward

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