Snapchat’s workforce is just 4% Black

200603130019 snapchat evan spiegel file hp video

Now as protests for racial justice continue across the country and amid renewed pressure on companies to improve diversity within their ranks, the parent company of Snapchat has finally released its numbers — and by the company’s own description, it is falling short on representation and inclusion.
Snap (SNAP) published its figures on Wednesday, the same day as a much-anticipated antitrust hearing with the world’s most powerful tech CEOs, an event that is sure to overshadow Snapchat’s announcement.

Snap’s results showed a workforce severely lacking in diversity, though on par with its much larger peers. In 2019, its US workforce was just 4.1% Black and 6.8% Hispanic and Latinx.

“To date, our DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) outcomes simply have not been good enough,” Snap said in the report. “We will hold ourselves accountable publicly and we expect to be judged by our actions and not just our words.”

Overall, women made up 32.9% of Snap’s global employees in 2019, an increase of 0.9% from the previous year. However, women made up only 16% of its tech teams and just 7% of tech leadership roles. “The lack of diversity is most pronounced in tech roles: 91% of our team members in these roles are White or Asian,” Snap said in the report.

Snap’s leadership and senior leadership roles are also predominantly white. Of the employees in leadership roles, 70.4% are white, while its senior leadership team is 74.2% white.

Snap said it made “progress” in improving the number of women in leadership roles. Women with a title of director or higher edged up 1% to make up 24% of those roles, and women in VP roles and above rose 9.6% to comprise 30.3% of those positions.

The company had 3,195 global employees as of December 31, 2019.

Silicon Valley has notoriously fallen short when it comes to improving diversity at every level. In 2014, when Facebook first began releasing diversity figures, its US workforce was 2% Black. Six years later, it’s still only 3.9% Black. Similarly, Google’s US workforce was 1.9% Black in 2014, and six years later, it’s 3.7% Black. It’s a similar situation at other tech companies, which have either seen small percentage-point increases or, in some cases, even declines since they began releasing reports.
For tech companies, a lack of diversity raises concerns about how it impacts the inclusiveness of their products used by millions of people around the world. And for Snapchat, in particular, there have been multiple cases where the company has apologized for filters that were insensitive to Asian and Black people.

Snap nodded to the issue in the report: “We are committed to building products that are fully inclusive of gender, race, ability, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, geography and more. To develop inclusive products, we must achieve greater diversity in the way we develop our products and content.”

In addition to releasing the employee breakdown, Snap also outlined several new initiatives for improving diversity, equity and inclusion, including linking executives’ performance in part to their individual diversity efforts and diversity goals for their teams, requiring unconscious bias training for all employees and expanding its mentoring programs.

The company also set goals for the future, including to double the number of women in tech at Snap by 2023 and to double the number of underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities by 2025. Its “long-term goal” is to reflect “the racial and gender diversity” of the different places where it operates.

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