Posted on June 18, 2014

Yahoo Reveals Work Force Data, Joining Tech’s Small Diversity Parade

Vindu Goel, New York Times, June 17, 2014

Defining the scope of a problem is the first step toward solving it.

Yet when it comes to the persistent lack of diversity in their work forces, Silicon Valley companies are quick with excuses and slow–very slow–to disclose even the barest data about the problem, even though they have been collecting and reporting the information to the federal government for decades.

On Tuesday, Yahoo became one of the few companies to share basic demographic information on the diversity of its work force. Globally, about 37 percent of the Internet company’s more than 12,000 workers are women, and just 23 percent of the senior managers are women, Yahoo said in a blog post. (The company declined to give a gender breakdown for the United States.)

Yahoo, which is one of the few tech companies run by a woman,Marissa Mayer, also provided data on the ethnicity of its United States work force, saying that 50 percent of its workers are white, 39 percent Asian, 4 percent Hispanic, 2 percent black and 4 percent undisclosed or more than one race. Asians make up 57 percent of Yahoo’s tech workers, compared with the 35 percent of the tech work force that is white. Yet when it came to leading technology teams, nearly four out of five of the bosses were white and less than a fifth were Asian. Whites also dominated the nontechnical management jobs, although to a lesser extent.

Yahoo’s disclosure, which came without commentary on causes or solutions, came in response to Google’s disclosure of its own diversity data at the end of May, which prompted some self-reflection at other Silicon Valley firms. (Chegg, a newly public company serving the education market, quickly followed Google’s lead.)

Last Thursday, LinkedIn disclosed its own diversity figures, which were similar to Yahoo’s. {snip}