Faces of diversity at US Internet giants

GMT 03:33 2015 Sunday ,06 September

Arab Today, arab today Faces of diversity at US Internet giants

Apple increased last year's hiring of women
San Francisco - AFP

White or Asian men are the typical employees in major US technology firms, and this has changed little since the first wave of "diversity reporting" last year.

Workforce data provided by companies was global regarding gender and limited to the United States regarding ethnicity.

GOOGLE was overall 70 percent male in January 2015, a make-up unchanged from the previous year. When it came to purely technology jobs, the percentage of men rose to 82.

Some 60 percent of Google employees were white, while about 31 percent were said to be Asian.

The Internet giant stepped up recruitment of blacks and Hispanics last year, but their share of the workforce remained unchanged at two and three percent respectively. Google said that it has ramped up university recruitment and is devoting $150 million this year to improving diversity.

APPLE increased last year's hiring of women, blacks and Hispanics by more than 50 percent, adding a total of 15,900 positions in a new record for the world's biggest technology company, according to chief executive Tim Cook, who maintained that there was "a lot more work to be done."

California-based Apple's workforce was 69 percent men at the end of June, compared with 70 percent last summer. The share reached 79 percent for technology positions.

Some 54 percent of Apple employees were white, while about 11 percent were Asian. Apple showed a relatively high proportion of employees who were Hispanic (11 percent, unchanged) and black (eight percent, up one point).

FACEBOOK has Sheryl Sandberg as its second most powerful executive but was still 68 percent men in late May, down one point from the previous year.

The share reached 84 percent when limited to technological positions. Whites made up 55 percent of the social network's workforce in a drop of two percent from a year earlier, while the share of Asians rose two percent to 36 percent.

The share of Hispanics and blacks did not change, remaining four percent and two percent respectively. Facebook has begun resorting at times to a "Rooney Rule" that has been in force since 2003 in the National Football League.

The rule calls for at least one qualified candidate from an under-represented group to be proposed for each vacancy. This rule is being tested by other technology firms including Twitter and Pinterest.

INTEL has also adopted the Rooney Rule. The world's largest chip maker disclosed a breakdown of staff in July that was virtually unchanged compared to the end of 2014. Men account for 75 percent of employees, and even 80 percent in technological jobs.

Fifty-four percent of employees are white, followed by Asian workers at 32 percent. Hispanics made up some eight percent of the workforce while 3.5 percent was black. Intel is striving to have its workforce reflect the demographics of the US population by 2020, with a goal of 40 percent "diversity" hires this year.

In June, Intel launched an investment fund of $125 million targeting start-ups run by women or ethic minorities.

MICROSOFT's ranks of employees was 72 percent men in late June, and the share rose to 83 percent for technology positions.

The US software giant classified 59 percent of its workers as "Caucasian," and said it was 29 percent Asian, starting with chief executive Satya Nadella.

Only five percent of Microsoft's workforce was Latino and three percent was black -- levels virtually unchanged from an initial diversity report published in October of last year.

AMAZON reported that 63 percent of its workers as of the middle of last year were men.

A racial breakdown of employees was given as 60 percent white; 15 percent black; 13 percent Asian, and nine percent Hispanic.

Civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Push group criticized the lack of details about job assignments, contending that a high percentage of the online retailing giant's  black and Latino employees "work in their warehouses."

YAHOO! has a woman at the helm, with former Google executive Marissa Mayer working as chief executive since mid-2012.

The company's overall workforce was 37 percent female in June in a share unchanged from a year earlier. Men still dominated technology jobs, accounting for about 84 percent of employees.

Approximately 47 percent of Yahoo workers were white, while the share for Asians was given as 43 percent. Hispanic and blacks made up four and two percent of the Yahoo workforce respectively.


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