8.23.2014

Gender Gap in Silicon Valley


"On Wednesday, Pandora became the latest Silicon Valley company to publicize a breakdown of its employees by gender and race. Notably, Pandora employs a much larger share of female workers—about forty-nine per cent globally—than most of the other big companies that recently disclosed their numbers, including Google, Apple, Twitter, and Facebook (in all these companies, women only make up around thirty per cent of employees). Pandora also appears to have a larger share of underrepresented minorities than many of the others. The company, commentators concluded from the figures, must be doing something right.
It’s notable that these disclosures no longer come as much of a surprise; not long ago, this kind of information tended to be hidden away in human-resources departments. (Companies of a certain size must report diversity figures to the government, but they don’t have to make them public.) That changed in May, when Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice-president of people operations, published a blog post that began, “We’ve always been reluctant to publish numbers about the diversity of our workforce at Google. We now realize we were wrong, and that it’s time to be candid about the issues.”

The figures were startling. As of January, Google’s global workforce was seventy per cent male and thirty per cent female. Sixty-one per cent of workers in the U.S. were white. “Google is miles from where we want to be,” Bock admitted. So, apparently, is much of the rest of Silicon Valley. Google’s disclosure inspired, or perhaps shamed, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, and eBay into following suit, and their numbers don’t look much better."