Posted: Friday, August 1, 2014 2:52 PM ET
On Thursday, Ebay published a diversity report on their website. The report caused a flurry of interest for two reasons: first, Ebay is the best of the technology giants when it comes to hiring women, 42% of Ebay's 33,000 employees are female, according to the report. That is far in excess of the 30% reported by Google (GOOGL) and Twitter (TWTR). It likely higher than Apple's (AAPL) rate as well. (Apple can't bring itself to publish its numbers.)
The second reason for the interest: overall diversity in high tech companies remains poor. Even in Ebay's report, it can be seen that the one good number—42% female employees—has translated into only 28% females at the "leadership" level (director and above).
The industry doesn't appear to be making progress on racial diversity either. While many technology companies in the US have a higher percentage of Asian employees than non-tech companies, they have much lower percentages of black and Hispanic employees. No one (or at least not many people) pins the blame for this on the technology industry alone, as the issue is societal, but many critics, including Jesse Jackson (here, from CNBC) argue that the industry should make an effort to more closely resemble its consumer base, particularly at the highest levels.
Ebay's U.S. racial diversity profile looks much the same as that of the industry. The company has 61% white employees and 72% whites at the leadership level. At that level, only 2% of the company's employees are black, and 2% Hispanic. Ebay's report acknowledges that issues remain and that it has work to do. For that, and the progress made, they should be commended. As Theodore Roosevelt was fond of pointing out, it is of more value to take the first step than to dream of the 100th.
Below is the infographic (in more vertical form) provided in the company's report.
Julian Close has been a business writer since the first day of the twenty-first century, having written for PRA International and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping. He graduated from Davidson College in 1993 and received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Mary Baldwin College in 2011. He became a stockbroker in 1993, but now works for Fresh Brewed Media and uses his powers only for good. You can see closing trades for all Julian's long and short positions and track his long term performance via twitter: @JulianClose_MIC.
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