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August 20, 2014

Music Company Pandora Releases Diversity & Inclusion Data

Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rainbow PUSH Coalition Commends Pandora for Releasing

Diversity & Inclusion Data

August 20, 2014


Rainbow PUSH commends Pandora and CEO Brian McAndrews for their commitment to transparency, corporate accountability and their desire to create a strong, inclusive company.  Notably, Pandora, based in the heart of Oakland, is the smallest publicly traded company to release their diversity/inclusion data.


Last year, technology companies were successfully going to court to resist and prevent the release of their workforce data.  Now, after weeks of a direct action campaign by Rainbow PUSH urging companies to release their EEO-1 reports and workforce data, Pandora joins a growing list of companies  - Google, Intel, HP, Intuit, eBay, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft, Facebook, and others - that are confronting the lack of diversity and inclusion, with integrity and transparency.  “They’ve gone from resistance to release – a new climate of change is in the air,” said Rev. Jackson.


Their data shows that women are making progress at Pandora, perhaps the best in the industry, and Latino representation is higher than most technology companies.  But African American participation lags behind at just 3% of the music company.  


Rev. Jackson stated, “Pandora is based in Oakland, the “rainbow” city of the West Coast, with a mixed African American, Latino, Asian and white population, and a proud music and digital arts tradition.   Significantly Pandora chose to base its headquarters here, and build a company that reflects this community.    As your workforce is 75% non-tech, there should be a strong pathway and few impediments to identifying and employing qualified Blacks and Latinos from the local community and around the country so Pandora can reflect its user and consumer base.”


Rainbow PUSH looks forward to forging key partnerships with Pandora to expand African American and Latino participation, not just at the workforce level, but also on its Board of Directors and C-suite level leadership.  Blacks and people of color – yes, we know music and the music industry; if Pandora searches in the right places, it can find us.” 


CEO Brian McAndrews of Pandora said in his letter to Rev. Jackson, “Thank you for reaching out.   We were excited to hear from you because we have been discussing our own path towards transparency and amplifying our efforts around building a more diverse workforce…. We hear your urge for data transparency . . .There is not doubt that knowledge leads to awareness, and to actions.”


It is now well documented that Blacks and Latinos have thus far been left out of the technology revolution – just 1-2% Black and 2-4% Latino in most cases. The tech industry is perhaps the worst industry in the nation when it comes to inclusion that locks out Blacks and Latinos from participation and opportunity.


Rainbow PUSH will continue to PUSH for progress in the technology industry.  Rev. Jackson added,  “They must set specific, measurable goals, targets and timetables, just like they do other priority business lines. We will measure their results and hold companies publicly accountable.”


In October we will be organizing a public workshop with companies and community organizations to discuss “next step” strategies – to move beyond the release of data to concretely putting in place a 21st century diversity and inclusion program that can move the needle.  We over-index as users and consumers, but “under-index” as entrepreneurs, directors and employees…  thus the demand for fairness and shared opportunity.


Rev. Jackson added, “Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated that it can solve the most challenging complex problems in the world.   Inclusion is a complex problem – if we put our collective minds to it, we can solve it, too.  When women lean in, so must Blacks and Latinos move forward.  Everyone must be included.  It’s time the Boards of Directors and C-suites and the workforce of technology companies begin to reflect its customer base.


At its best, Silicon Valley can be a tremendously positive change agent for the world; at its worst, it can hold on to old patterns that deny opportunity to people of color and women. Rev. Jackson concluded, “Silicon Valley must evolve and expand to look like America, and mirror American values and principles – we must even the playing field and play by one set of rules.”


As CEO McAndrews artfully said, "knowledge leads to awareness, and to actions." Let's act together to change the face of technology.