scorecardIn an industry first, Pinterest is publicly releasing its diversity goals
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In an industry first, Pinterest is publicly releasing its diversity goals

In an industry first, Pinterest is publicly releasing its diversity goals
Tech3 min read
Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest.    Getty Images Entertainment

Pinterest is taking a positive step towards addressing Silicon Valley's diversity problem: The social network is now publicly releasing its diversity targets online.

It is, as Fusion notes, the first of any company in the industry to do so.

In a blog post by chief creative officer Evan Sharp on Thursday, Pinterest says it is making some headway: "Our number of female employees [has grown] from 40% to 42%, [with] engineering interns increasing from 32% to 36% female, and women engineers hired out of school increasing from 28% to 33%."

But, Beard writes, "we have more work to do." The company has set itself goals for 2016, and is publishing them to help measure its progress.

They are:

  • Increase hiring rates for full-time engineering roles to 30% female.
  • Increase hiring rates for full-time engineers to 8% underrepresented ethnic backgrounds.
  • Increase hiring rates for non-engineering roles to 12% underrepresented ethnic backgrounds.
  • Implement a Rooney rule-type requirement where at least one person from an underrepresented background and one female candidate is interviewed for every open leadership position.

The Rooney rule refers to an NFL policy to interview minority candidates for coaching and other senior roles at clubs. Just three days ago, TechCrunch published an op-ed calling for an equivalent of the Rooney rule in the tech sector. Written by Twitter employee Sammy Ahmed, it said such a rule would "help expose hiring managers to candidates they may not have otherwise considered ... provide qualified minorities access to jobs that their network would have historically precluded them from learning about, and thus applying for ... [and] create more sustainable and diverse companies."

Pinterest engineer Tracy Chou has been one of the leading advocates for increased diversity in tech. In 2013, she published a blog post on Medium called "Where are the numbers?" where she called out tech companies for not releasing hard data on diversity. She wrote:

The actual numbers I've seen and experienced in industry are far lower than anybody is willing to admit. This means nobody is having honest conversations about the issue. While companies do talk about their initiatives to make the work environment more female-friendly, or to encourage more women to go into or stay in computing, there's no way of judging whether they're successful or worth mimicking, because there are no success metrics attached to any of them.

Since then, tech companies have increasingly begun to share this data. The figures aren't always encouraging - in Google's second annual report, published in 2015, women held just 30% of jobs. But with the push comes an increased awareness of the issue, and renewed efforts to tackle it.

For its part, Pinterest has laid out a number of strategies it intends to pursue. These include expanding the number of universities it recruits from, "[having] every employee participate in training to prevent unconscious bias," and introducing a "training and mentorship program."

As it stands, only 19% of Pinterest's engineering team is women - and just 18% of its leadership is.

Here are Pinterest's full numbers:


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