This past June, some of the world’s most influential tech companies released their employee diversity numbers. These statistics were released after years of criticism of lack of transparency with consumers and the general public. You can review some of the numbers from major companies such Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn and Facebook.
These numbers are broken down by overall gender, ethnicity, tech and non-tech positions and leadership roles. A lot of these companies are based in the United States, but have offices and employees all over the world. The ethnicity numbers only include U.S. numbers because in other countries it is illegal to collect certain demographic information on employees.
Government collects information regularly
For so many years, these numbers were hidden from the public simply because there was no obligation for the information to be released. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) actively collects information from every U.S. company that employs over 100 people. They serve as a watchdog agency to make sure that companies are not violating any provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Some of the data collected is included in special reports.
Some would argue that the 2004 report from the EEOC, Diversity in the Media, hasn’t resulted in any major changes in the media industry.
Media outlets receive attention for diversity
In 2009 the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) released a statement criticizing Politico for the firing of its only African American editor. After the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, conversations among journalists led to the topic of the workplace environment at Politico. Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery made the statement asserting that African Americans do not work for Politico. Politico reporter Dylan Byers defended his organization, but without merit.
Another media company that has been recently criticized for an uncomfortable workplace for people of color is CNN, who recently withdrew their support of the NABJ after they released a statement regarding the work environment at CNN for African American employees.
On the other hand, Buzzfeed released its own diversity report. Editor in Chief Ben Smith said in an email to staff that diversity is core to how Buzzfeed operates and hires. Buzzfeed defines diversity as “enough people of a particular group that no one has to represent the supposed viewpoint of their group.”
Change doesn’t come easily
Five months after the release of these reports, it is unrealistic to expect that overnight change will happen. As the make-up of America continues to change, it is important for the public to see people they can relate to in every industry. Within the reports, many of the companies acknowledged and mentioned some ways that they will create more diverse and innovative workplaces.
Diversity is important in tech, in the media and in all industries. Releasing diversity statistics allows for transparency and makes companies accountable in ensuring they have a diverse and inclusive workplace. However, just because companies release their numbers does not mean that the conversation about diversity in the workplace is over.
Do you see high levels of diversity in public relations? What makes a workplace diverse to you?
Awo Eni is a senior at the University of North Texas majoring in strategic communications with an emphasis in public relations and a political science minor. You can follow her on Twitter at @ah_woah, where she does her best to keep up with all things pop culture.