Money & Business

Friday Buzz: Another Tech Industry Diversity Headache

By / Jul 25, 2014 (iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)

Twitter becomes the latest tech company to reveal that its employees are overwhelmingly white and male. Also: advice on how to keep “lobby rats” in check at your event.

Much like the rest of the tech industry, Twitter has a diversity problem.

On Wednesday, the company released an employee breakdown by gender and ethnicity, which showed—much like prior disclosures by Google and Facebook—that it has a 70/30 split of male and female employees. In Twitter’s case, the gap gets wider for leadership and technical positions. (Nine in 10 technical employees are male.)

The company’s employees are mostly white (59 percent), with a large minority of Asian employees (29 percent), and just a small percentage of Hispanic (3 percent), black (2 percent), Pacific Islander (1 percent), and Native American (less than 1 percent) employees.

In a blog post, Twitter VP of Diversity and Inclusion Janet Van Huysse said the company has made strides in improving diversity, noting its work with outside groups, as well as groups within the Twitter offices meant to bring together diverse employees.

“We are keenly aware that Twitter is part of an industry that is marked by dramatic imbalances in diversity—and we are no exception,” Van Huysse wrote. “By becoming more transparent with our employee data, open in dialogue throughout the company and rigorous in our recruiting, hiring, and promotion practices, we are making diversity an important business issue for ourselves.”

The disclosures came after a campaign led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a noted civil rights icon.

As we reported last week, the Information Technology Industry Council has defended the industry’s progress on diversity, noting that the disclosures are part of a larger effort solve the diversity failings.

Stop Ambushers

They’re working outside of your established conference structure, and it’s a real pain.

But so-called lobby rats and outboarders can definitely be dealt with. Over at Velvet Chainsaw, Dave Lutz gives the practice a different name—”ambush marketing”—and suggests that there are ways to tamp it down. For one thing, change up your schedule, he says.

“Ambushers thrive on predictability,” he writes. “If you’re trotting out the same schedule each year, you’re making it too easy for them. Returning to the same city or venue makes you even more vulnerable. Change up your agenda enough to give ambushers a few sleepless nights. Create more networking spaces and value in areas you do control.”

He has a few other tips, including creating a “limited access pass” for such marketers. But he warns against over-policing things and making matters worse. (ht @TRAVISInc)

Other good reads

Is Yelp an unsung hero of social marketing? SocialFish guest blogger Yazmin Gray makes that suggestion, along with a couple of others.

Your Gmail address is a lot more versatile than it looks. Field Guide, a site run by Gizmodo, explains how you can turn one email address into many.

Nearly one in four people would pay more for a flight just to get WiFi, according to a new Honeywell Aerospace survey.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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