The White House Tech Inclusion Pledge, A Year Later
One year ago this week Airbnb, Lyft, Medium, Box, GitHub, Intel, Pinterest, Spotify and other technology companies came together to make a pledge to the White House that they would work to ensure their employees better reflect the makeup of the United States workforce.
When we first looked at the original 33 companies that signed onto the White House pledge last June, only 7 of them posted any sort of diversity report and 2 released their full EEO-1 data.
Though the pledge left benchmarks up to the individual companies, it asked the tech firms that signed on to implement goals to recruit, retain and advance underrepresented talent, to publish data annually on the demographics of their workforce, and to invest in partnerships that would build a larger pipeline of diverse candidates.
Since the pledge was created under the Obama administration and wasn’t binding for the tech firms that signed on, it’s unclear if the new White House will continue to engage with the tech industry on diversity and inclusion issues. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Now nearly 80 companies have signed the pledge, but only 17 make full or partial numbers about their workforce diversity public.
Fortune considered gender and racial or ethnic data for employees to be a full release, while other information about workforce demographics was marked as partial.
For some multinational companies, it’s difficult to collect data on all the same categories in all countries where they operate. This is the case for SAP, who signed the White House pledge but are still working to sort out the legalities in other nations so they can implement their diversity and inclusion strategies globally.
Currently they release information on the number of women in their total workforce and in their leadership roles and publish more detailed information about gender balance internally, but are still working with lawyers to navigate the stricter data collection and protection measures in Germany, where the company is based, and other countries where their employees work, SAP’s chief diversity and inclusion officer Anka Wittenberg told Fortune.
“Coming from an economics background, I believe that what gets measured is what gets done. Diversity and inclusion is important to us and we want to be transparent,” she said.
Code2040, one of the pledge’s collaborating organizations, has been working with companies to make transparency seem less scary.
“I want to touch on the importance of not just putting out numbers and being a one and done initiative. Put out strategy for how you’re going to change or improve your numbers. Being visible about the entire industry and creating a sense of accountability means a lot,” said diversity partnerships manager Juanita Leveroni.
She’s managers relationships with every kind of company from small firms, like Medium, to mid- and large-size companies like Lyft and Intel.
Leveroni said she’s been especially impressed with Medium because Jamie Talbot, a senior software engineer, came away from a meeting about revamping the hiring process for technical, implemented the guidance and wrote an entire blog post about it.
One of the fears she’s encountered often is the assumption that adjusting things like interviews in a way that increases diversity will lower the bar for the overall quality of employees hired.
“When we talk to managers, we recognize there can be a fear or a notion of their own credibility decreasing because of this false narrative about diversity meaning lowering the bar,” Leveroni said. “Once we put different pieces of data in front of them to disprove that, the fear starts to disappear.”
What’s more, she said, Code2040 estimates that 1.4 million tech jobs will be created in the next three years, but 70% of them will go unfilled.
“If you’re developing your skills to manage cross-culturally, when we do reach 2040 and people of color make up the majority of people the workforce, that’s going to be an essential skill in order to get jobs filled,” Leveroni said.
See a full list of companies that signed the pledge and release their diversity data below.
|Company||Publish diversity data|
|EquityEats (now inKind)||N|
|MATH Venture Partners||N|
|Springboard Growth Capital||N|
If we’ve missed your company’s diversity numbers or you want to share your data, please email Fortune data reporter Grace Donnelly.