Eighteen months ago, facing criticism as part of an overwhelmingly homogenous tech industry, Twitter gave itself some clear goals for hiring a more diverse workforce in 2016. Now that the year has wrapped up, Twitter has released its first diversity report since the somewhat puzzling hire of Jeffrey Siminoff as VP of diversity and inclusion. And while the company is still largely white and male, the results are a promising step in the right direction.
At the executive level, Twitter is making a point to highlight the appointment of BET CEO Debra Lee to its board as well as the hire of global creative director Jayanta Jenkins. (And, for another PR boost, Jack Dorsey was also named the CEO of the Year by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.) With Jenkins and Lee on board, the company hit its goal of having six percent underrepresented minorities (that is: non-white, non-Asian) among its leadership team. Twitter had exactly zero underrepresented minorities in leadership roles in 2015.
Meanwhile, down among the rank-and-file Twitter flock in the US, the company is now 57 percent white, 32 percent Asian, 3 percent black, 4 percent Hispanic/Latinx, 3 percent multi-racial and less than 1 percent American Indian or Native Hawaiian. Underrepresented minorities also make up 9 percent of the technical positions at Twitter, a bump up from 7 percent in 2015. (We should point out, however, that unlike Apple and Facebook, Twitter does not report actual hiring numbers, only overall percentages.)
As for the gender balance, Twitter’s female employee population grew from 34 percent to 37 percent worldwide — beating it’s goal of a one-percent increase. Women now make up 30 percent of Twitter’s leadership roles and around 15 percent of its technical positions.
While that final statistic was the only one that fell short of the target, Twitter is already re-calibrating its diversity goals for 2017. By the end of the year, the company hopes to be 38 percent female and 13 percent underrepresented minorities overall, with 2-3 percentage increases in each of the other important categories.