Back in 1999, Jesse Jackson Sr. took his push for more inclusive workplaces to the vibrant heartland of the New Economy, Silicon Valley, where whites commanded more than 90% of the CEO jobs and board seats at the top 150 public companies. Jackson recruited an advisory board of top Valley executives to suggest ways to increase black and Hispanic participation in the region’s high-tech work force, which was just 3.7% and 8.4%, respectively.
Back then the main employers, and targets, were semiconductor and PC companies, such as Intel, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard. While those companies have taken baby steps toward diversifying their workforces over the past decade and a half, the tech industry remains the object of harsh criticism for its startling lack of inclusion.
Today, digital darlings such as Google, Facebook and Twitter are under fire. After publicly releasing their workforce data by race in 2014 and pledging to make improvements, recent reports show hardly any movement at all. Google this year reported that its workforce is 3% Hispanic and 2% African-American — unchanged since the first report in 2014. Facebook reported that only 2% of its U.S. workforce is black and only 4% Hispanic. When it comes to technical workers, the numbers are worse: 1% are black, 3% Hispanic. The numbers haven’t changed since the company’s first two diversity reports, released in 2014 and 2015.
To read more on the latest regarding techdom’s diversity struggles, see Salvador Rodriguez’s article in the Chicago Tribune.