Dear Tech People ranks Snap, Dropbox, Airbnb, and more in diversity report


Even though tech giants like Intel and Apple release annual reports on diversity, very few tech companies are following suit. Dear Tech People dove into these murky waters to answer questions like “How many women work at Snap?” and “How many engineers at Docker are black?” The three co-creators of Dear Tech People — Dhruv Maheshwari, Adina Luo, and Wyatt Shapiro — analyzed 70,000 public profiles, and today they have released their ranking of the 100 most diverse and inclusive tech companies.

Here are the top 10.

 

To collect the data, Dear Tech People says it looked at public profiles (like LinkedIn) and used a combination of name analyzers, facial recognition technology, and manual identification through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to determine gender and race.

“We’ve checked the accuracy of our data with the companies that do have publicly released data reports,” wrote Luo, in an email to VentureBeat. “We’ve also talked to a couple of companies that only have internal numbers that have yet to be released.”

Above: Example of comparing the stats

Image Credit: Dear Tech People

Luo and her two co-creators all have full-time jobs in tech and are working on this initiative as a side project for now.

“One of our goals is to prompt more companies to release their own diversity reports,” wrote Luo. “To do so, we’ve been working on a verified partners program, in which companies share self-reported data with us, matched to our standards and definitions. In return, they receive a green verified check mark on our site. Becoming a verified company doesn’t have any effect on the ranking — it just demonstrates a commitment to data transparency and the standardization of diversity reporting.”

Above: Dear Tech People co-creator Adina Luo

Image Credit: Dear Tech People

Dear Tech People says it has been in talks with a couple of companies to get them verified. Clover Health is one of the first to have officially signed on.

The report is divided into three sections: Overall, Leadership, and Technical. The below figures refer to the overall employee base.

Snap, which went public last year, has yet to release a diversity report. According to Dear Tech People, only 38 percent of the employees at Snap are female, 3 percent are black, and 6 percent are Latinx (gender neutral term used instead of Latino or Latina). Dropbox, which is planning to go public this year, isn’t doing much better: 37 percent of employees are female, 4 percent are black, and 3 percent are Latinx. Airbnb is much higher on the list, as 44 percent of its employees are female. It is, however, also lagging behind in terms of racial diversity: Only 4 percent of employees are black and 8 percent are Latinx.

This is nothing new, sadly. Last February, Open MIC, a nonprofit that focuses on issues of diversity, released a study that shows African Americans, Latinx Americans, and Native Americans remain dramatically underrepresented in the tech economy compared to their overall presence in the U.S. workforce.

Other organizations that are fighting to support diversity and inclusion in tech are the Kapor Center for Social Impact and Project Include, both of which are spearheaded by diversity advocate Ellen Pao. In a recent interview we asked Pao what it takes for companies to remain diverse and inclusive throughout the years.

“The best way is through metrics and accountability,” she said. “Measure and track diversity and satisfaction at different levels, different functions, different titles, different compensation, and across different demographics to see where you might be able to do better at including everyone. Hold people accountable across the board for their behavior and actions.”

Although Dear Tech People isn’t currently working with the Kapor Center or Project Include, the creators said they were influenced by both and spoke with Freada Kapor Klein (cofounder of Kapor Center) in the very early days to learn more about the space.

Dear Tech People is definitely contributing to this movement by providing a clear and comprehensive database about diversity and inclusion in tech.

One thing I noticed in the ranking is that three of its top 10 companies are female-led — Glossier, Rent the Runway, and Stitch Fix — all of which have a workforce that is more than 60 percent female. Seeing as there shouldn’t be a double standard in diversity (men shouldn’t be excluded either), I asked Luo how they determined which company was more diverse and inclusive.

“When we think about the concept of inclusion, a big part for us is thinking about how inclusive and welcoming a particular company is for underrepresented groups like women,” she wrote. “That’s why we stand by seeing some of these female-heavy companies up top in the rankings. What we think is the real challenge for some of these female-led ecommerce companies is to reflect racial diversity.”

The data suggests female-led companies are more welcoming and nurturing to female employees. But they also need to do better in terms of racial diversity.

Another important point to bring up is transgender employees, who don’t seem to have a place in this ranking.

“We weren’t able to do anything outside the gender binary,” wrote Luo. “It’s just a shortcoming of facial recognition/name analyzer technology right now. If trans people don’t present clearly on their LinkedIn profiles as male/female, they’ve likely ended up in unspecified, along with many other profiles that don’t include photos or have very little info available for us to extrapolate gender. We’re working on doing better by trans people and those who identify outside the gender binary, and that’ll be a big priority as we move forward.”

So yes, the report has some shortcomings, but it’s a great start to getting a clearer idea of what’s really going on inside these tech companies, and it will certainly help diversity advocates make internal cases for specific inclusion initiatives.

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