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Thursday, 24 July 2014 21:08

Twitter admits it has a diversity problem Featured

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Twitter today joined other big tech companies in admitting it has a diversity problem, revealing it has been hiring too many white and Asian men at the expense of women, black and Latino workers.

The social media giant employs roughly 3000 workers, and it said in a blog post that it wasn't proud of where it was at in regards to diversity. "We want to be more than a good business; we want to be a business that we are proud of," the copmany said. "To that end, we are joining some peer companies by sharing our ethnic and gender diversity data. And like our peers, we have a lot of work to do."

The breakdown revealed 70% of Twitter's worldwide workforce is comprised of men, while in the US, nearly 90% of Twitter's workers are either white or Asian.

Global workforce data wasn't published but it's likely the numbers aren't a whole lot better, while the problem is at its worst in key programming positions which are often the higest paid jobs.

Google, Facebook, Yahoo and LinkedIn are all facing similar problems to Twitter (as are plenty of other in other countries too), and each have released their diversity data following a push in May from the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who chastised tech giants for ignoring diversity.

Jackson has spent much of this year pressuring major Silicon Valley companies to diversify their workforces and in a statement, Jackson described Twitter's diversity numbers as "pathetic" but called the disclosure of the problem a "step in the right direction".

Twitter said it would actively work on the issue.

"We are keenly aware that Twitter is part of an industry that is marked by dramatic imbalances in diversity," Janet Van Huysse, the company's vice president of diversity and inclusion, wrote in a blog post.

"Research shows that more diverse teams make better decisions, and companies with women in leadership roles produce better financial results," she said.

Van Huysse notes that Twitter has a number of internal efforts to promote inclusiveness and that it's partnered with several organizations to the same end. "We are keenly aware that Twitter is part of an industry that is marked by dramatic imbalances in diversity," she writes, "and we are no exception."

Google made a similar admission in June, telling the public that just 17% of its tech employees are women. It too promised to do more, and started 'Made with Code', a website encouraging girls to learn more about coding, usually seen as the domain of men.

In a post on Google’s official blog, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said there are “far too few women and far too few young girls” in the technology field.

“Nowadays, coding isn’t just a skill useful for working at a tech company; engineering isn’t just for engineers,” Wojcicki wrote.

“Interior design. Medicine. Architecture. Music. No matter what a girl dreams of doing, learning how to code will help her get there.”

This month also saw the launch of Girl Geek Academy, an Australian startup aiming at teaching one million girls how to code by 2025.

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