Silicon Valley Has Started To Publicly Accept It Has A Diversity Problem
Lyft released their diversity report...and it's not very diverse.
Buffer, Pinterest, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Google, Intel, Amazon, AirBnB, Netflix and, most recently Uber, have all released their reports on diversity. Now, Lyft has too. Sadly, it reflects more of the same, majority white, majority male tech ecosystem. Lyft is 63 percent white, 19 percent asian, 6 percent black and seven percent latinx. Unfortunately, this breakdown isn’t a surprise if you’ve been following the coverage of similar Silicon Valley tech companies over the last 12 months. For example, Twitter’s employees are 70 percent male and 30 percent female. Whilst 59 percent of employees are white, and a mere two percent of employees self-reporting as black or African American, and three percent hispanic or latino. This is appalling when you think about #BlackTwitter and the high following the social network has among African Americans.
Lyft's report also shares that one percent of the leadership is black and five percent are Latinx. Leaders affect change and help shape culture top down, so it is vital that if Lyft wants to become more diverse and inclusive it needs leaders that are willing to gain the cultural context necessary to serve both its customers and employees.
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Many people are disenfranchised with these diversity reports being published one after the other from Silicon Valley, however I am encouraged to share them, as measurement and accountability are the first steps to addressing the issue. We are all accountable for the lack of diversity, let alone inclusiveness in tech today, and we can all play a role in moving the dial.
Inclusive teams solve problems for everyone, and therefore, your workplace should represent the wider working population. In 2015, Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, made a public pledge at CES in Vegas to invest $300 million to increase diversity within the company and the tech industry at large, as he recognizes the business benefits. By 2020 the goal is for Intel’s workforce to be representative of the working population. Which makes sense, right? You want to be in markets where your staff understands and relates to the very customers you are serving. It has great business benefits as it invites a diversity of thought to solve problems and limit risk. Intel is an example of a company creating an inclusive culture and getting it right. They achieved their goal of retaining diverse employees, with a 15 percent exit rate for women and people of color compared to a 15.5 percent exit rate for white, asian and male employees. Most companies focus exclusively on hiring diverse talent when retention is just as important.
It would be great if we can start to move past the reports and have open, public dialogue in the workplace about diversity and inclusion. That way, we can nurture diverse leaders and work with the tech ecosystem at large to create a more inclusive culture. Lyft has started working with diversity consulting firm Paradigm, the same firm Pinterest, Slack and AirBnB work with to help move the needle on diversity and inclusion.