Pinterest, the fast-growing, highly valued Visual Web startup, is far ahead of the Silicon Valley pack when it comes to gender diversity. But it’s vowing to do far better on both gender and racial diversity, cofounder Evan Sharp promised in a blog post on Thursday.
Startlingly, despite Pinterest’s efforts to improve its numbers, its industry-leading ratio of women tech employees stayed steady at 21 percent from 2014 to 2015.
That’s nearly twice the ratios other large tech companies have reported. But Pinterest, spurred by engineer Tracy Chou, has made far more substantive efforts. If it’s struggling, it shows just how hard the problem is to crack.
“Tech” includes product management, engineering, and design. Pinterest separately broke out its engineering diversity figures this year: 19 percent of its engineers are women. Overall, Pinterest improved its workforce gender ratio from 40 percent female to 42 percent.
Pinterest has been doing well with recruiting women into engineering internships and into entry-level engineering jobs for new college graduates, but that hasn’t been enough to move its overall numbers.
So, Sharp says the company’s going to make at least 30 percent of its full-time engineering hires women in 2016. The company’s also going to increase its hiring for people of Hispanic and African-American backgrounds in both engineering and non-engineering roles.
It’s a maxim in business that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Pinterest will likely face some criticism that it’s setting quotas. But one person’s quota is another person’s target.
Pinterest is betting that a diverse workforce isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s good for its business, as it seeks to have employees who can relate to its fast-growing base of users and represent their experiences.
Here’s Pinterest’s current workforce breakdown:
Images courtesy of Pinterest