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eBay Releases Strongest Diversity Numbers In Silicon Valley, But They Still Need Work

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"eBay Releases Strongest Diversity Numbers In Silicon Valley, But They Still Need Work"

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CREDIT: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

EBay is officially more diverse than other tech giants who have so far released their hiring statistics. Its newly released diversity report shows the company is leading the industry with more women in leadership roles and whites making up the minority in tech jobs.

The auction site posted its diversity report Thursday, following the lead of other tech industry giants. Lately, industry leaders — such as Google, Yahoo and, most recently, Twitter — have set off a flurry of reports seemingly to boost transparency and start shedding its “brogrammer” reputation.

The tech industry is known for being dominated by white men, inculcating an exclusive culture that shuts out women and people of color. Overall, women in tech are outnumbered seven to three by men. Less than 40 percent of employees aren’t white, and Asians make up the vast majority of that slice.

At eBay, women make up 24 percent of tech jobs and 28 percent of leadership positions — seven percentage points better than Google. Unlike other tech companies, Asians outnumber whites on the tech side in the U.S. at 55 percent, with African-Americans, Hispanics and multiracial employees making up 5 percent together. But the scale tips in non-tech sector that’s traditionally more diverse, where 70 percent of the staff is white.

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eBay’s demographics fare better than the likes of Google and Twitter, mainly when it comes to hiring women. According to a blog post announcing the report, eBay credits the uptick in female employees — whose ranks have doubled since 2011 — to its Women’s Initiative Network (WIN).

Ebay’s CEO John Donahue launched WIN in 2011 with a conference that brought all of the company’s 200 plus female leaders together to discuss how to best recruit and retain women. Ebay also noted its commitment to the LGBT community, and its public support of marriage equality.

Google has launched a similar initiative, Made With Code, to help encourage school age girls to study computer science. Google’s program and others like it aim to close the gap in the workforce that starts in high school, where fewer than 20 percent of high school girls take the computer science advanced placement (AP) test or graduate with a college degree in the field.

The tech industry overall faces similar challenges when it comes to ethnic diversity. eBay noted it actively recruits from networks like BlackPlanet, Black Women Connect, and the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s. But the obstacles facing non-white tech workers start long before the job search; blacks and Hispanics generally make up less than 5 percent of computer science degree holders. To truly reverse its diversity problem, Silicon Valley companies are starting to realize they need to ramp up outreach efforts through programs like Black Girls Code and Code2040, as well as recruit from a different array of colleges to make the industry less homogenous.

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