“Most of us agree that tech could be a little more diverse,” says the homepage of Dear Tech People, a project that uses diversity data scraped from LinkedIn to provide approximate diversity figures for a specially selected group of 100 American technology and online media companies. The initiative, launched by three graduates of the University of Pennsylvania, seeks to help improve the visibility of the industry’s diversity problem. The site ranks companies based on the combined gender and racial diversity of their workforce, leadership, and technical staff.
While several high-profile tech companies have publicly released their diversity data on an annual basis over the past few years, Dear Tech People helps provide greater transparency by charting diversity across a broader segment of the industry.
“Our belief is that while the LinkedIn data isn’t perfect, it’s the best data available, and some data transparency is infinitely better than the opaque state of diversity numbers right now,” Adina Luo, one of the site’s co-founders, told Fast Company. Luo and her two other co-founders all have full-time jobs and are working on this initiative on the side. For companies that self-report their diversity figures, Dear Tech People offers verified partnerships, which allow them to signal to candidates that they are committed to diversity. The site also advertises a pipeline analytics tool and benchmarking reports to help companies improve and check their progress toward their diversity and inclusion goals.
While none of the findings are particularly revelatory and the report does have some blind spots, such as not being to identify transgender employees using its current methodology, its attempt at quantifying the state of diversity across the tech sector is a step forward. Hopefully, Dear Tech People will spur companies to compete for higher rankings to better attract and connect with diverse candidates, suppliers, and customers. The release of this data may also help create accountability for organizations that have not taken the step of going public with their diversity data, as well as encouraging other initiatives to measure diversity in tech and other sectors.
“So yes, the report has some shortcomings,” Bérénice Magistretti comments at Venture Beat, “but it’s a great start to getting a clearer idea of what’s really going on inside these tech companies, and it will certainly help diversity advocates make internal cases for specific inclusion initiatives.”