2014-07-23

Co.Exist

Twitter Finally Releases Its Diversity Data, And It Does Not Look Good

Kudos, though, for transparency.

After years of refusing to show the public how many women and minorities it hires, Twitter finally relented on Wednesday afternoon.

On its blog, Twitter posted two detailed bar graphs looking at the backgrounds of its employees across tech, non-tech, and leadership roles. Compared to the rest of Silicon Valley’s top firms, Twitter fares okay, if not slightly better than the dire averages. But it’s still not very good.

Overall, women make up 30% of Twitter employees, but only 21% of leadership positions. Across the company, only 5% of employees are black or Latino, and Latino executives at Twitter are so rare that they don’t even show up on the chart.

“We are keenly aware that Twitter is part of an industry that is marked by dramatic imbalances in diversity — and we are no exception,” Twitter’s vice president of diversity and inclusion Janet Van Huysse wrote.

Van Huysse also took the opportunity to point out initiatives like Girls Who Code, the Out for Tech group, Black Girls Code, Year Up, and Girl Geek Dinners that Twitter supports. But releasing the data itself marks an equally, if not more significant step, following in the paths of major Silicon Valley employers like Google and Facebook. “By becoming more transparent with our employee data, open in dialogue throughout the company and rigorous in our recruiting, hiring and promotion practices, we are making diversity an important business issue for ourselves,” Van Huysse wrote.

Earlier this month, feminist hacker space Double Union launched a website to track companies that did and did not release their diversity data to the public. Last week, Reverend Jesse Jackson honed in on Twitter specifically, starting a petition that asked the tech giant to be more transparent.

It’s unclear if either had an influence on Twitter’s final decision. To read more from the company, click here.

[Image: Flickr user José Manuel Ríos Valiente]

Add New Comment

4 Comments

  • Taylor Smith

    I don't know a whole lot about statistics, but I feel that all of this data is irrelevant and the view of Twitter's diversity "issue" is not justly established without knowing more facts. Such as: the ratio of men to women that actually applied for those jobs, the ratio of different races that applied to those jobs, etc.

    They're called minorities for a reason. I certainly don't know the facts and I can't speak for Twitter but I would assume that they hired primarily white employees because the country is filled primarily with white citizens. Have you considered the possibility that not many minorities or women applied for the jobs? How do you know Twitter didn't hire every woman and minority that applied?

    Maybe Twitter is discriminating and they deserve someone shaking a finger at them. But maybe they're not. We need to know more facts before pointing fingers.

  • You have some good points. I'm a Chicano male and being in the start-up/tech world has been an eye opener. There are very few Women, Mexicans, Latinos, and African Americans in this industry. The graphs are just a bite sized piece of info that comments on a larger issue at hand. We need more women and minorities in tech! I'm trying to do something about it through Young And CEO but it's tough.
    The data is definitely relevant though. There is NO WAY that Twitter would release the ratios of gender (or races) that actually applied for those jobs.

  • Ameer Aftab

    I find it ironically racist when I see people debating gender & race diversity in large organizations. I strongly condemn the fact that often times people are not given equal opportunities due to these exact reasons, but at the same time, forcing organizations to hire more females or immigrants just for fluffy reasons such as gender diversity is qually racist, and frankly quite stupid. Racism is, by definition, treating someone differently due to the color of their skin. Tell me how this isn't so.

    If I'm a business owner, I would want to hire qualified people best suited for the role, period. I don't care if you're tall, short, white, black, male, female, whatever. This should never be part of the decision making process. Prove your worth, show skill at the task, and the post is yours.

    I trust Twitter to be a responsible organization when it comes to hiring, and therefore I see nothing wrong with the graphs above. They bring in no tangible business value, short term or long term.