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Twitter Sets Diversity Goals, But Experts Say That's Not Enough

Jan Lee headshotWords by Jan Lee
Leadership & Transparency
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Add Twitter to the list: With the growing call for improved diversity numbers in California's tech sector, Twitter has announced new diversity metrics for the coming year.

On the whole, the new goals for 2016 represent a 1 to 3 percent increase in women and minorities in targeted roles. The only exception is Twitter's leadership, which currently has zero representation from African American or Hispanic management. The company said on Friday that it intends to "increase underrepresented minorities in leadership roles to 6 percent." It has also stipulated that these new metrics only apply to U.S. positions.

These are bold annual goals, particularly for a company that is still trying to regain its financial footing of two years ago, when its company value was more than twice what it is today.

Still, diversity seems to be the focus these days for tech companies that want to demonstrate that they not only have a marketable product, but also an ear to the needs and values of its consumers. And nothing speaks louder than a company's hiring practices, it seems.

But upping the number of women and underrepresented minorities in tech positions and leadership roles may not be enough, says a new company that helps companies improve their diversity numbers. Porter Braswell, the founder of Jopwell, notes that strategies that support diversity in recruiting is now a "must have" in today's world. The company, which bills itself as a U.S. firm "dedicated to helping bridge the minority employment gap plaguing the U.S.," helps tech companies connect with qualified minority candidates. In so doing, it's also helping to draw focus on the fact that having an office that elevates the need for diversity in the workforce is a good thing.

Airbnb is among the most recent tech companies to take out ads for diversity managers. Its unusual job title of 'Head of Diversity and Belonging' may seem strange, but it pretty much sums up the mantra for a company whose motto is "belong anywhere." It also pinpoints the significant challenges that go along with ensuring open, fair recruitment and at the same time, that those practices represent a changing society.

Diversity is on the rise, and so, it seems, is a new business concept: diversity management. As many companies are now discovering, changing statistical numbers of representation is no longer enough. Diversity in thought takes a change in mindset when it comes to hiring the country's best and brightest talent.

Interested in Silicon Valley tech companies' role as community citizens? TriplePundit is crowdsourcing funds for a deep-dive series to explore just that! Check out the project here

Image credits: 1) Flickr/US Mission Geneva; 2) Flickr/Iwan Gabovitch

Jan Lee headshotJan Lee

Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.

Read more stories by Jan Lee