Countless tech companies have pledged their commitment to diversity in recent years, but it’s largely only giants like Facebook and Google that have caved to pressure and published diversity reports. In the pursuit of transparency, a new initiative called Dear Tech People dug through tens of thousands of LinkedIn profiles and compiled a diversity ranking for 100 tech companies.
Dear Tech People targeted buzzy startups in healthcare, e-commerce, consumer tech, and more, from Slack and Blue Apron to Clover Health and Casper. (Clover Health, which released a diversity report last year, corroborated Dear Tech People’s results with internal data and is the first official “verified partner.”)
Adina Luo, one of Dear Tech People’s co-creators, told me LinkedIn data was the “most comprehensive source available” given that methodology varied from one company to another. “Our belief is that while the LinkedIn data isn’t perfect, it’s the best data available, and some data transparency is infinitely better than the opaque state of diversity numbers right now,” Luo said.
Dear Tech People’s data isn’t especially revealing. As you would expect, industries like e-commerce and healthcare skew more female, though in both cases those numbers are significantly lower across technical roles. (Stitch Fix, for example, is 80% female overall, but women hold only 37% of its technical roles.) Few companies boast black and Latinx employee percentage counts in the double digits, and even those numbers drop precipitously for leadership and technical roles.
But Dear Tech People could enable change by the simple act of alerting companies to their blind spots, and publicly holding them accountable. “It can be really powerful from a directional standpoint,” Luo said. “As we’ve talked to various diversity advocates at some of the companies we’ve analyzed, people have found this data very helpful in making internal cases for diversity initiatives.”