Which companies are good in terms of employment diversity? Comparably, a company that focuses on gathering compensation and cultural data about employers, recently came out with its  top corporate diversity practitioners, both large and small. But something's odd. Of the top 25 big companies, many, like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Microsoft, were in the tech sector. But these same companies have been roundly criticized for lack of diversity based on their own data shared with the public.

A lack of diversity can hurt companies in many ways, to say nothing of individuals and society. And tech companies have made headway by having at least some institutional focus on the issue. But this list wasn't for the most improved. It was for the best. The disconnection between ratings and reality comes from the way the student was done, depending solely on a survey whose methodology seemed potentially flawed without considering the available data. 

Tech has faced particularly strong and public criticism over the years. Many of the biggest names began publishing their diversity statistics in a move to be more transparent. A lot of data is available through government-collected statistics, so keeping it under wraps wasn't possible in any case.

There has been some improvement over the years, but if you look at some of the numbers now, while they have shown improvement over time, there's a long way to go. Here are some examples of areas that seem problematic.

  • At Facebook, the percentage of women in the company globally is 35 percent, with the number of women in tech at 19 percent and 28 percent in management. Hispanics are 5 percent while Blacks are 3 percent.
  • Google is 69 percent male overall with U.S. employees including 2 percent Black, and 4 percent Latino.
  • Two-thirds of managers at Amazon in the U.S. are white and globally 75 percent are male. Overall, the company is 61 percent male. In this country, Blacks represent 21 percent of employees but only 5 percent of management.
  • HubSpot is 40 percent women and 32 percent of managers are female. It's very skewed to the young, with 60 percent between 26 and 35, 29 percent from 16 to 25, 8 percent 36 to 45, and 3 percent from 46 up.
  • Globally, 39 percent of Intuit is made of women but only 29 percent of technical positions and 32 percent of leadership. In the U.S., Blacks are 3 percent, Latinos are 8 percent, and Native Americans, 1 percent.
  • LinkedIn is 42 percent female overall, but women make up 21 percent of technical positions and are 38 percent of leadership. In the U.S., 61 percent of employees are White, 31 percent Asian, 4 percent Latino, and 1 percent Black.
  • Globally, Microsoft is 25.9 percent female; tech is 19 percent while leadership is 19.1 percent. In the U.S., Whites are 56.2 percent; Asians, 31.3 percent; Latinos, 5.9 percent; Blacks, 4 percent.
  • About a year ago, Pinterest announced some significant progress in hiring women and minorities, but then said it would only maintain previous goals and, in the case of hiring women into tech positions, reduce them.

Such patterns were consistent at Salesforce, Square, and others. And yet, all of these companies were considered among the best for diversity.

Basing results on surveys, as Comparably did, rather than on a mix of employee opinion and data, can offer skewed results. Employees express personal opinions and the results depend on the sampling. Furthermore, Comparably relied on "thousands of employee reviews" that gauged worker sentiments without necessarily having a scientific approach to sampling.

Those perceptions, although useful in analysis, aren't enough for a clear look at how a company is doing. They can depend on such factors as the person's identification with the job and conditions at the given location in which they work. Also, ratings are "best" in comparison and not necessarily good in any objective sense.

In any case, given the state of diversity throughout tech, no one in the industry should take any comfort from Comparably's list.

Published on: Dec 1, 2017
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