AMAZON Releases Workforce Diversity
Patterns of Exclusion Persist
October 31, 2014
At the urging of Rainbow PUSH Coalition and others, AMAZON finally released its workforce diversity and inclusion data.
The lack of inclusion at AMAZON mirrors their industry peers: No Blacks or Latinos on their Board and an all-male management. Data released by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition last week indicated that of 183 board members of 20 tech companies surveyed, there are just 3 African Americans and 1 Latino.
Their general workforce data released by Amazon seems intentionally deceptive, as the company did not include the race or gender breakout of their technical workforce. The broad assumption is that a high percentage of their Black and Latino employees work in their warehouses. Rainbow PUSH is disappointed with the level of disclosure and we seek to meet with them soon to go deeper into the issue.
The virtual lack of inclusion in Silicon Valley and other tech companies like AMAZON is a systemic problem. It’s time to go beyond the rhetoric of “doing better” and turn high-sounding words into concrete action. At its best, technology can be a tremendously positive change agent for the world; at its worst, it can repeat old patterns that exclude people of color and women from opportunity and advancement. Silicon Valley and the tech industry must transform itself to resemble the America it depends upon for talent and customers.
African Americans and people of color “over-index” as users and consumers, but “under-index” in their representation and inclusion in the boardrooms, and executive suites, the workforce and as business partners.
Technology companies that are serious about moving the needle must put a real plan in place: set goals, targets and timetables regarding diversity and inclusion on their Boards, their c-suite leadership and their general employee base.
Rainbow PUSH will be issuing a Technology Diversity and Inclusion report card, and will convene a forum to be hosted by Intel on December to engage companies and communities on “next steps” to identify strategies and solutions and truly “change the face of technology.” It takes action to break old patterns and reaching out to open closed doors. And the time for action has come.