For Palantir and Oracle, time reveals all--even trade secrets.

After citing their diversity numbers as trade secrets--in an effort to keep those stats under wraps--the true makeup of the executive ranks at the Silicon Valley stalwarts is now known, and it's not good. 

According to the companies' 2015 Employer Information Report EEO-1, an official form companies must submit to the U.S. Department of Labor, women held precious few top slots, as recently reported by the nonprofit news organization Reveal. That year, which is the latest for which the firms' data is available, Peter Thiel's Palo Alto, California-based big-data company Palantir had no female executives and counted only one woman among its managers, according to the report. Oracle, the Redwood Shores, California, computing giant, showed only slightly better results. Fewer than 13 percent of its executive roles were occupied by women, which includes its co-CEO Safra Catz. 

Both companies paled in comparison to other major companies in Silicon Valley. According to Reveal's report, two-thirds of major Silicon Valley firms had a "better representation of female executives" than Oracle in 2015. And out of 167 of the largest tech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, only 10 failed to employ a woman in an executive role that year, Reveal reports. 

In recent years, major Silicon Valley tech titans have opted to make their diversity efforts public. Companies including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, Salesforce, and Uber publish their annual EEO-1 forms online. Oracle and Palantir, however, are not among them. Reveal obtained the company records through a Freedom of Information request filed in 2017. Calls for a response from both companies regarding the revelation of these stats were not immediately returned. 

"There is a very real threat to [Oracle's] competitive position" if its diversity report becomes public, the company argued in a letter sent to the Department of Labor in hopes of blocking the release of its EEO-1 form. Oracle and Palantir believe that sharing anonymized data of their workforce diversity would give rival companies sufficient information to poach their employees, according to the report.

"Competitors could identify where Palantir has made significant progress in hiring women and minorities and target recruitment strategies at specific job categories to steal this talent," reads Palantir's letter to the Department of Labor.

There are easier ways for rivals to identify key talent, however. Y-Vonne Hutchison, CEO of ReadySet, a diversity-focused consulting company based in Oakland, California, tells Reveal: "You could literally just log in to LinkedIn and find out."

Published on: Jan 8, 2019