Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rainbow PUSH Coalition Statement on
Pandora’s Decision to Release its Workforce Data
July 15, 2014
Just weeks ago, Rainbow PUSH made a direct and public appeal for Silicon Valley technology companies to release their EEO-1 reports and workforce data in the near future. Today, Pandora positively responded and committed to release its workforce data. Pandora joins a growing list of companies - Intel, HP, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Facebook, Cisco and others - that are confronting the lack of diversity and inclusion, with integrity and transparency. This is a step in the right direction, and we commend Pandora for their commitment to transparency, corporate accountability and their desire to create a strong, inclusive 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. It is significant that Pandora – an Internet music company – based its headquarters here, and chooses to build a company that reflects this community. Rainbow PUSH and I look 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.”
Also, eBay and Apple indicated that they, too, will soon release their EEO-1 workforce data. But the numbers tell the story of the tech industry. Blacks and Latinos are being left out of the technology revolution. Facebook reports that its overall workforce is just 4% Latino and 2% Black; Yahoo, 4 percent Hispanic, 2 percent black; LinkedIn 4 percent Hispanic, 2 percent black. . 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.
So Rainbow PUSH will continue to monitor the progress of the technology industry. Rev. Jackson added, “They must set specific, measurable goals, targets and timetables, just like they do other priority business lines. Rainbow PUSH will continue to press other firms to confront reality and release their EEO-1 and workforce data. We will measure their results and hold companies publicly accountable.”
Rainbow PUSH is working with companies, educators and students to build an effective pipeline from Black and Latino communities to jobs in the tech industry. Google, HP, Facebook, and Intel all participated in the Rainbow PUSH Annual Conference in Chicago, June 28-July 2nd to forge new strategies and partnerships.
Rev. Jackson added, “Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated that it can solve the most challenging complex problem 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 exclude people of color and women from opportunity and advancement. 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.”