How do tech’s biggest companies compare on diversity?

The tech diversity scorecard


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Last week Apple finally released the Equal Employment Opportunity report detailing the diversity of its US workforce. The so-called EEO-1 accompanied Apple’s second diversity report with a note meant to discredit the validity of the government-mandated data. "The EEO-1 has not kept pace with changes in industry or the American workforce over the past half century," reads the Apple diversity page. "We believe the information we report elsewhere on this site is a far more accurate reflection of our progress toward diversity." Google, Facebook, and Microsoft describe similar inadequacies in their EEO-1 reports.

It’s true that a form which categorizes software engineers as "professionals" and hygienists as "technicians" doesn’t make a lot of sense for companies rooted in technology. But the report’s top-level summary and leadership breakout do provide insight into each company’s overall diversity in terms of both gender and race / ethnicity.

Better yet, since we also have the 2014 EEO-1 reports from Twitter, Intel, Facebook, and Amazon we can do an Apple’s-to-apples comparison across much of the industry. The Equal Employment Opportunity report might be flawed, but at least it’s the same imperfect metric applied consistently across all companies.

But first, a baseline.

In 2010, the last time a census was conducted, the US was 16 percent Hispanic or Latino, 64 percent White (non-Hispanic or Latino), 12 percent Black or African American (non-Hispanic or Latino), 4.6 percent Asian (non-Hispanic or Latino), and 3 percent "other" (people of two or more races, American Indians or Alaskans, and native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders).

In terms of gender, the US population consisted of more women than men: 49.2 percent male (151,781,326), 50.8 percent female (156,964,212) — but women comprised just 47 percent of the US labor force.

So, how do the US tech companies we sampled compare? Click the "show me" buttons across the top of the chart below to sort by gender and race / ethnicity.

Key takeaways:

  • Amazon sets the bar for female employment with 37 percent of its US workforce. Microsoft lags the pack with just 24 percent (sampled average is 29 percent female) — far below the 47 percent of the US workforce that’s female.
  • Apple employs a higher percentage of people claiming hispanic / Latino origin than its peers in the US. At 12 percent of its US workforce, it’s well ahead of Twitter’s 2 percent (sampled average is 8 percent Hispanic or Latino).
  • Amazon employs far more people that identify as Black or African American than the other companies sampled. At 15 percent, it is well ahead of Facebook’s 1 percent and the 2 percent employed by Google and Twitter (sampled average is 7 percent).
  • Amazon (13 percent) and Apple (16 percent) lag the others in the percentage of employees who identify as Asian (sampled average is 23 percent).
  • The sampled average for people that identify as Asian is 23 percent of the workforce even though they compromise just 4.7 percent of the US population.

And what about the leadership composition of some of the world’s most powerful and profitable companies?

Key takeaways:

  • Facebook (23 percent) and Twitter (22 percent) are the best at promoting women into leadership roles among the companies sampled. Microsoft is the worst at 13 percent (sampled average is 18 percent).
  • While women represent an average of 29 percent of all employees in the US tech firms sampled, that number quickly falls to 18 percent of leadership positions (Women make up 47 percent of the US workforce).
  • Amazon’s leadership is the whitest at 90 percent followed by Apple at 87 percent, far above Twitter’s 68 percent (sampled average is 79 percent white).
  • Amazon (75 percent) and Apple (72 percent) promote the greatest percentage of white males into leadership positions (sampled average is 65 percent).

As dire as these charts appear, the tech industry is advancing toward the goal of greater inclusiveness and transparency. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Intel have all released customized reports showing mid-2015 progress globally, beyond the 2014 US data provided in the EEO-1. Progress is slow, but it is happening.

"We are proud of the progress we’ve made, and our commitment to diversity is unwavering," said Tim Cook last week. "But we know there is a lot more work to be done."

Something that can be said for the rest of tech as well.

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