Amazon's new diversity report is just more of the same

The company belatedly reveals that it is 63% male and 60% white

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
November 1, 2014
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Back in July, a slew of top Internet companies, including Twitter, Google, Facebook and Yahoo, all released diversity reports, showing the gender and racial breakdowns of their workforce.

The results were exactly as you'd expect them to be. That means overwhelmingly white and male.

Now, pretty belatedly, Amazon is getting in on the action, releasing its own similar report. And the results were exactly as you'd expect them to be: overwhelmingly white and male.

Here's the breakdown:

Overall, Amazon only 37% of the people that Amazon employs are women. Sadly, that is actually the best number among all the companies that have released these reports, tying it with Yahoo. 

Google and Twitter both have 70% men, and only 30% women, and Facebook is the smallest amount better, with 69% men and 31% female. 

So this number makes Amazon one of the most progressive in Silicon Valley. Think about that for a second.

Interestingly, Amazon did not, as most of the other companies did, break these numbers down into what types of jobs each gender has in the company. Instead, they only reported on global managers. And the numbers are not good: 75% male, only 25% female.

Google also did not break its numbers down further but at Twitter, for example, they revealed that tech jobs are 90% taken up by men, and leadership jobs are 79% men. At Yahoo and Facebook, it’s a just little bit better: tech jobs are 85% men, and leadership is made up 77% men.

The only place where women have any kind of parity is in what is called "non-tech" jobs, and even there they are barely a majority. At Twitter, it's split down the middle; at Yahoo it is 52% women and at Facebook its still 53% men.

When it comes to race, Amazon falls right in with the rest of Silicon Valley: it is 60% white, while Google is 61%, Twitter is 59% and Facebook is 59%. Only Yahoo is doing any better and it’s still 50% white.

Again, Amazon only broke the numbers down for higher up positions, rather than tech jobs and non-tech jobs.

Again, its overwhelmingly white, with 71%. The next closest ethnicity is Asian, with only 18%.

The fact that Amazon did not break its gender and ethnicity numbers down the way that others did is not going unnoticed. In fact, the company is already getting some heat for its lack of transparency, and many are assuming, probably correctly, that it means that there is a reason they do not want to reveal them.

“Their general work force data released by Amazon seems intentionally deceptive, as the company did not include the race or gender breakout of their technical work force,” the Rainbow PUSH Coalition told the New York Times.

“The broad assumption is that a high percentage of their black and Latino employees work in their warehouses.”

Still, Amazon touted its programs, such as Amazon Women in Engineering, which is "dedicated to making Amazon a great place to work for technical women" and its Affinity Groups, which "play an important role in building internal networks for career development and in reaching out to communities outside the company."

It also highlighted partnerships with groups like the Anita Borg Institute and to increase and diversify its talent pool.

"Amazon has hundreds of millions of customers who can benefit from diversity of thought. We are a company of builders who bring varying backgrounds, ideas, and points of view to inventing on behalf of our customers. Our diverse perspectives come from many sources including gender, race, age, national origin, culture, education, as well as professional and life experience," the company wrote in the report.

"We are working to develop leaders and shape future talent pools to help us meet the needs of our customers around the world."

Many would say, though, that it still has a long way to go.

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