According to a new report by data analytics company Blendoor, it’s apparently easier, or sufficient, for some giant tech companies to donate millions of dollars to causes like Black Lives Matter than it is to actually promote change by increasing diversity numbers within their own workforce.
Meredith Somers of MIT Sloan School of Management reported on the “State of DEI in Tech 2021” study, an annual report by Blendoor that “spotlights the diversity, equity and inclusion disparities in 240 of the world’s largest and well-known tech companies.”
To compile its data for the 2021 study, the agency compared pledges that large tech-based companies made with the figures of the businesses’ own internal staffing and workforce makeup.
“Blendoor counted 535 pledges worth $4.56 billion made by a majority of those tech companies between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020,” Somers said. “But the report also reveals, for example, that the tech companies that made Black Lives Matter pledges or statements have 20% fewer Black employees on average than companies that did not make similar pledges and statements.”
In a statement, Blendoor founder and CEO Stephanie Lampkin said, “despite these public displays of commitment to DEI — and the investment of billions of dollars over the last seven years — there is little evidence of tangible progress overall.”
According to Somers, the report also revealed that in the 240 tech companies analyzed, there are no Black females who are named executive officers — a position that is “usually the five highest-paid executives at a publicly traded company.”
“Women only make up 15% of those named executive officers and on average make 21% less money than male named executive officers,” Somers reported. “There are 49% fewer Asian executives compared to Asian workers at entry-level positions, the largest drop-off in the tech pipeline according to the report.”
According to Somers, other key findings from the report include:
- “42% of tech company executives analyzed are women or people of color, but white women represent about half of that group.”
- “Asian women hold less than 4% of [leadership] roles, while Black men and women, and Latino and Indigenous men and women, make up less than 5% total.”
- “The average salary for a white employee at one of the 240 tech companies scored is $130,000, compared to $98,000 for Latino and Indigenous employees; Black employees make an average of $91,000.”
- Companies started before 2008 have more than 30% fewer Asian executives than newer companies.
- Asian women working in tech have the lowest upward mobility rate and are much less likely to move from entry-level to executive/senior-level positions.
After the report’s publication, Lampkin said the bottom-line is that good lip service and charitable donations — even if they’re large — aren’t enough. A long-term commitment, good data transparency and regular reporting are all keys to diversity and inclusion.
“The companies who are making pledges are also saying we need to do better,” Lampkin said. “What we’re trying to elucidate is just saying ‘we’re working on it’ is insufficient. If indeed you want to do better, show us your numbers on a regular basis, much like you do with quarterly financial reporting.”