The tech industry has a terrible track record on diversity. Here’s how 17 companies that spoke out against racism this week say they plan to improve.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder This story is available exclusively on Business Insider Prime. Join BI Prime and start reading now. Many technology companies have shared statements of support as protesters across the country advocate for an end to systemic racism and police brutality.But many of these same companies struggle to hire and retain people of color and…

The tech industry has a terrible track record on diversity. Here’s how 17 companies that spoke out against racism this week say they plan to improve.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

This story is available exclusively on Business Insider Prime.
Join BI Prime and start reading now.

Many technology companies have shared statements of support as protesters across the country advocate for an end to systemic racism and police brutality.But many of these same companies struggle to hire and retain people of color and women from all backgrounds. Business Insider tracked what enterprise tech companies have said publicly about the ongoing protests, along with their diversity statistics for leadership and their overall workforce, and asked how they plan to promote more diverse and equitable workplaces.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Across the US, people are marching to protest the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black people who have been killed by police.In response, tech companies have jumped on board, crafting blog posts and tweets to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. But while their messages say they stand against racism, employees within those companies have often told a different story.Silicon Valley has long been a mostly-white boys club: Underrepresented minorities like Black and Latinx people still only make up single-digit percentages of the workforce at many major tech companies. When you look at the leadership statistics, the numbers are even bleaker. Making a corporate statement opposing racism should just be an initial step, says Aparna Rae, the cofounder of Moving Beyond, which helps companies make diversity, equity, and inclusion part of their business operations.

Companies should immediately “acknowledge the pain, suffering, and secondary trauma experienced by people of color employees, especially Black employees,” she said, while equipping managers to offer time off, mental health resources, and no-meeting days. They can also support Black employees by providing white employees with resources to become better-informed allies, she said. Beyond the systemic racism they may deal with in their everyday lives, underrepresented minorities face barriers to breaking into tech that their white counterparts are less likely to face. Word choice in job postings can deter underrepresented minorities and women from applying in the first place, and if they do apply, tech interviewers may have unconscious biases that lead them to gravitate towards candidates like themselves (which can mean white males only hiring white males).Once women and people of color are hired, they may face pay gaps and harassment. According to a Glassdoor survey, 43% of US employees have seen or experienced racism at work. While it’s become common for major tech companies to hire diversity and inclusion executives, many startups don’t make it a top priority early on, which can affect the way the company grows. 

And when the culture of a company is unwelcoming to underrepresented minorities, it affects their retention rate. In the past year, the tech industry has seen memos circulate from employees at Google and Facebook describing the racism and discrimination they have faced at work. In one memo, a former Black Google employee wrote that they “never stopped feeling the burden of being black at Google,” and current Black engineering director Leslie Miley also shared shared how he was accosted at least once a week while wearing his badge because he doesn’t look like the employee his coworkers expect.Women and people of color have also been disproportionately impacted by layoffs during the coronavirus, says Evelyn Carter, director of Paradigm, which works with companies to improve their diversity and inclusion efforts. She says it’s partly because layoff decisions are often based on tenure, and, for the aforementioned reasons, women and people of color are more likely to be in junior positions instead of leadership. “That influx of diversity is going away if folks aren’t intentional about all their decisions in the employee life-cycle,” Carter told Business Insider.In recent years, companies have published their diversity statistics and pledged to increase hiring of people of color and women. In many cases, progress for these companies has been slow. 

Moving Beyond’s Rae also said that companies should be publicly and explicitly detailing their plans to diversify company leadership and boards of directors, and focus on approaches grounded in data. “We are reading, ‘We support Black Lives Matter,” and, ‘We don’t condone racism,’ but ultimately, when this dies down, is it going to be business as usual?” Rae said.The value of making plans public is that it invites feedback and suggestions, and helps employees and outsiders hold the company accountable.In that spirit, Business Insider put together a list detailing what 17 enterprise tech companies have said publicly about the ongoing protests, along with the diversity statistics at each one. We included statistics both for the company overall and in leadership. In addition, we asked each company what it plans to do in order to improve diversity and inclusion within the company:

Google

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Statement: “The events of the past few weeks reflect deep structural challenges. We’ll work closely with our Black community to develop initiatives and product ideas that support long-term solutions—and we’ll keep you updated. As part of this effort, we welcome your ideas on how to use our products and technology to improve access and opportunity.”You can read the full statement from Google CEO Sundar Pichai here. Diversity statistics:White: 51.7%Asian: 41.9%Black: 3.7%Latinx: 5.9%Native American: 0.8%Leadership diversity statistics:White: 65.9%Asian: 29.6%Black: 2.6%Latinx: 3.7%Native American: 0.5%You can read the full diversity report here.Statement on how it plans to improve: “We’re committed to building a workforce that is more representative of our users and a workplace that creates a sense of belonging for everyone. As you’ll see in our recent diversity report, we’ve taken concrete actions to steadily grow a more representative workforce, launching programs that support our communities globally, and building products that better serve all of our users.”Google released its most recent report in early May. 

Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Chesnot/Getty Images

Statement: “Our identity, our very existence is rooted in empowering everyone on the planet. So, therefore, it’s incumbent upon us to use our platforms, our resources, to drive that systemic change, right? That’s the real challenge here. It’s not just any one incident, but it’s all the things that have led to the incident that absolutely need to change.We can’t do it alone. I’m grounded in that, I realize that, but together I think we can, and we will drive change.We need to recognize that we are better, smarter and stronger when we consider the voices, the actions of all communities, and you have my assurance that Microsoft will continue to advocate to have all those voices heard and respected.”Read the full statement here.Overall workforce diversity statistics:White: 53.2%Asian: 33.1%African American/Black: 4.5%Hispanic/Latinx: 6.3%American Indian/Alaskan Native: .5%Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: .2%Multiracial: 2.1%(As of 2019. Includes Microsoft’s retail operations and does not include Microsoft’s portfolio companies, like LinkedIn)Leadership diversity statistics (executives):White: 67.3%Asian: 23.9%African American/Black: 2.7% Hispanic/Latinx: 4.4%American Indian/Alaskan Native: .4%Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: .1%Multiracial: .9%How it plans to improve: Microsoft referred Business Insider to its Diversity and Inclusion report, released in November 2019. When asked whether Microsoft plans to take any new steps, Microsoft said it had “nothing to share.”

Amazon

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Associated Press

Statement: “The inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country must stop. Together we stand in solidarity with the Black community — our employees, customers, and partners — in the fight against systematic racism and injustice.” Read more about the response to Amazon’s statement, including from some employees, here.Overall workforce diversity statistics:White: 34.7%Asian: 15.4%Black/African American: 26.5%Hispanic/Latinx: 18.5%Native American: 1.3%Two or more races: 3.6%Leadership diversity statistics (manager-level):White: 59.3%Asian: 20.8%Black/African American: 8.3%Hispanic/Latinx: 8.1%Native American: .6%Two or more races: 3% (Includes both corporate and warehouse operations)How it plans to improve: Amazon and Amazon Web Services did not respond to Business Insider’s requests about whether the company plans to take any steps to create a more diverse workforce and equitable workplace.

Twilio

Twilio co-founder and CEO Jeff Lawson

Twilio

Statement: “Twilio cares for and stands with the Black Community. It is our responsibility and honor to speak out against hate and violence. Silence is a message in itself. We choose to speak up.”Message here.Diversity statistics: White: 40%Asian: 21%Black: 3%Latinx: 3%Pacific Islander, Native, Other: 1%Two or more races: 2%Leadership diversity statistics: White: 59%Asian: 15%Black: 1%Latinx: 3%Pacific Islander, Native, Other: 2%Two or more races: 1%You can read the full diversity report here.How it plans to improve: Twilio is working on a blog post on these issues to be released later with more details. Business Insider will update when it’s published.

Atlassian

Atlassian co-CEOs Mike Cannon-Brookes (left) and Scott Farquhar (right)

Atlassian

Statement: “What has happened to many other Black lives, all over the world, is not acceptable. I have a responsibility to say Black Lives Matter. I believe we all do. Like many of you, Scott and I are angry and sad. We believe, above all else, in respecting human rights. Equality is not a privilege, reserved for some and not others. Now, more than ever, we must come together and support one another. We must listen, and learn. And we must speak up and fight for equality and justice. We should continue to expect unrest until governments and companies (including ours) are held accountable in upholding equality and justice. And as this unrest grows more loud, more violent, and more painful, we need to do own our part in creating a more just and equitable world. Anything less would be complicit and complacent.” You can read the full statement from Mike Cannon-Brookes here.Diversity statistics:White: 59.3%Asian: 27%Black: 2.6%Latinx: 5.5%American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander: 0.2%Two or more races: 3.4%Leadership diversity statistics:White: 64.7%Asian: 31%Black: 0%Latinx: 1.7%American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander: 0.9%Two or more races: 0.9%You can read the full diversity report here.How it plans to improve: Declined to disclose. 

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