Twitter sets modest goals to diversity its workforce
SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter is setting modest goals to diversify its workforce while it fights a proposed class-action lawsuit that says the online messaging service discriminates against its female employees.
The hiring targets were released Friday along with data showing that Twitter primarily employs white and Asian men in high-paying technology jobs, like most of its industry peers.
Twitter is aiming to fill 16 percent of its technology jobs with a woman next year, up from 13 percent currently. The San Francisco company also wants women to make up 25 percent of its leadership roles, from 22 percent now, and is promising to hire more blacks and Hispanics.
Former Twitter engineer Tina Huang filed a lawsuit in March attacking the company’s treatment of women. The complaint says Twitter has a history of bypassing qualified women for promotions. Twitter has denied the allegations.
Based on a total workforce of about 4,100 people, Twitter currently employs about 1,400 women, or 34 percent of its total payroll. The company wants 35 percent of its total workforce to be comprised of women next year.
“We’re holding ourselves accountable to these measurable goals, as should you,” Twitter executive Janet Van Huysse wrote in a blog post.
Other major technology companies, including Google, Facebook and Apple, also are trying to lessen their long-time dependence on white and Asian men to fill programming jobs that typically pay $100,000 to $300,000.
Unlike Twitter, not all tech companies have established a concrete number of women, blacks and Hispanics that they are hoping to employ, nor when their workforce might look more like the overall population.
The composition of most big tech employers didn’t significantly change in the first year since they began acknowledging their diversity problems under pressure from a coalition led by civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.
Twitter has other pressing issues besides addressing a lack of worker diversity. The company still isn’t making money more than nine years since its first tweet was sent and is still looking for a new CEO to accelerate its user growth. Co-founder Jack Dorsey has been serving as interim CEO since Dick Costolo stepped down from the top job in July.
Meanwhile, Twitter’s stock has shed nearly half its value during the past four months as investors have lost faith in the company. The shares gained 37 cents Friday to close at $26.83, slightly above its initial public offering price of $26 in November 2013.