Posted on December 8, 2020

Tesla’s Diversity Report Shows a White, Male Leadership

Dana Hull, Bloomberg, December 5, 2020

Tesla Inc. released its first report on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion via a blog post late Friday, statistics that Silicon Valley tech companies and banks on Wall Street have been sharing for years.

While the report showcases a heavy presence of minorities in its U.S. workforce, it highlights a lack of diversity with a predominantly male and White leadership team, and offers a peek into a relatively opaque structure without an organizational chart on its website that just lists four male executives as its only leadership.


Black and African-American employees represent 10% of Tesla’s U.S. workforce, but just 4% of managers at the level of director and above, according to the report.


Hispanic and Latinx employees form 22% of the U.S. workforce, and also just 4% of its management at the director level and above. However, Asian employees make up 21% of its U.S. workers and 25% of its senior management — skewing the ratio with two out of three minorities at the leadership level.


Tesla has faced high profile allegations of racial discrimination in recent years at its Fremont plant, where roughly 10,000 people work. In late 2017, a Black worker, Marcus Vaughn, filed a lawsuit saying the plant was a “hotbed of racist behavior.” Tesla responded to Vaughn’s case with a lengthy blog post titled “Hotbed of Misinformation” that said the company had investigated the alleged incidents and fired three people as a result.

{snip} When Tesla pitched local officials in Austin on the new factory, executives stressed the diversity of its workforce and eagerness to partner with local organizations and community colleges.

“We are proud to be a majority-minority company, and we are proud to report that our business reflects the underrepresented communities that have struggled to break through the roadblocks to equal opportunity,” according to the report.


Since 2014, workers have filed at least 145 complaints with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging discrimination against Tesla on the basis of race, age, gender, disability, medical leave, pregnancy, sexual orientation, and national origin, according to a synopsis provided by the agency after a California Public Records Act request. This May, three other people alleged they were forced to quit because of their race.


As part of its efforts, Tesla says it will recruit at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, and has a relationship with Huston-Tillotson University in Austin as it prepares to launch Gigafactory Texas. The company is also expanding its internship program to “become our driving force in attracting diverse talent at our professional entry level.”