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Dublin: 10 °C Sunday 21 December, 2014

Is a Twitter job just for the boys? Twitter says sorry but… yes.

The social media giant joins Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Yahoo in being lambasted for hiring mostly white and Asian men.

Cool jobs - but who's getting them?
Cool jobs - but who's getting them?
Image: laptop via Shutterstock

TWITTER, FACEBOOK, LINKEDIN, Yahoo, Google – what have they all in common?

Apart from their status as Silicon Valley giants, they are in a less illustrious list of major tech companies found to have a less than diverse employee profile.

Twitter joined the list yesterday of hi-tech corporations who have turned over the gender and ethnic breakdown of its staff – which shows that they employ, for the main part, white or Asian men to their well-paid jobs.

Who cares? The Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the civil rights group ColorofChange.org, for two.

While Facebook, Google, Yahoo and LinkedIn had already released their info – which showed that they too had an overwhelmingly male, white and Asian, staff – Twitter had been slower to hand over the figures.

Now that they have ColorofChange says that the “shocking lack of Black folks in these companies: less than 3%” is a situation that needs to be rectified. The organisation has called upon its members to tweet about the lack of diversity – using Twitter’s own platform to highlight the issue.

It had also originally sent this email to its members. Read it in full here.

That was in response to a New York Times article about Twitter’s lack of female representation at board level, to which Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo replied flippantly last October:

This led to a spotlight on diversity across a number of tech giants – which are becoming huge employers, not least in Ireland, and seen as progressive in so many other ways. The campaign from Rainbow PUSH and ColorofChange for the release of staff headcounts took hold of tech news headlines:

Twitter – the latest to release figures – show that 70% of its workforce is male, and in the US, 90% of its total workforce is white or Asian (it still hasn’t provided that racial breakdown for outside the US).

Associated Press reports:

Things look even worse when the numbers are boiled down to computer programming positions and other technology jobs that tend to pay the highest salaries. Just 10 percent of those jobs are held by women worldwide. More than 90 percent of Twitter’s technology jobs in the U.S. are being handled by whites and Asians.Twitter’s scarcity of women, black and Latino workers mirrors similar situations at Google Inc., Facebook Inc., Yahoo Inc. and LinkedIn Corp.

Yesterday, Rev Jackson called the numbers “pathetic” but welcomed the disclosures as “a step in the right direction”.

Twitter had Janet Van Huysse, now its vice-president of diversity of inclusion, blog a post called ‘Building a Twitter we can be proud of’. She had been head of HR for four years but has now been “honored to focus specifically on these efforts (to create a more diverse workforce)”.

She wrote: “We are committed to making inclusiveness a cornerstone of our culture”.

This was the breakdown released by Twitter, by the way:

Meanwhile, the latest tweet from Twitter’s recruitment account @JoinTheFlock is from 18 July and is giving people a reason to work there:

… to which this was one of the replies:

Source: lizTheDeveloper/Twitter

In her blog, Janet Van Huysse does write: “And like our peers, we have a lot of work to do.”

- additional reporting by Associated Press

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