June 13 (Bloomberg) -- LinkedIn Corp. said it has more work to do in creating a diverse workforce, increasing the spotlight on the composition of technology companies.
The professional social-networking service released data showing that 61 percent of its more than 5,400 employees are male, while 91 percent of U.S. employees are white or Asian. The disclosure on June 12 follows one from Google Inc. last month, when the world’s largest search engine said just 30 percent of its 50,000 employees are women, while 91 percent are white or Asian.
Diversity has become a big debate in Silicon Valley. The dearth of female and minority engineers, startup founders and business leaders has been a sore point for female executives including Facebook Inc.’s Sheryl Sandberg as well as activists such as Jesse Jackson. Companies including Apple Inc., Facebook and Twitter Inc. have faced pressure to increase the number of women directors on their boards.
“We may not be the first company to be transparent, and we hope we won’t be the last,” LinkedIn, based in Mountain View, California, near Google’s headquarters, said in a post. “Our goal is to improve over time and to make a lasting change at LinkedIn.”
Hani Durzy, a spokesman for LinkedIn, said the company released the data because “it was the right thing to do to help further the conversation” and that while the move wasn’t a direct response to Google’s disclosure, “we applaud them for doing so.”
LinkedIn said it has initiated programs and partnerships to improve diversity, including with groups including Year Up and the Anita Borg Institute.
What Google and LinkedIn have revealed isn’t unusual. Last year, 74 percent of U.S. workers in computer and mathematical occupations were men, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In software development, a fifth of the jobs were held by women.
Many companies prefer not to publicly disclose their workforce data. Jackson has said he sent letters to about 25 top technology companies pressuring them to be transparent about diversity, including Apple, Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corp., Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Facebook said at its shareholder meeting this year that it will likely release numbers internally first.
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