LinkedIn diversity report for 2020 confirmed the steady gains that the company has made during the past years in adding women to its workforce. However, the share of female employees in technical positions remains very low, with the sector still being dominated by men.
According to data published in the company’s annual diversity report, in the U.S., women employees made up 44.7% of LinkedIn’s total workforce in FY20, up from 43.6% in the previous year. In leadership positions, women’s share also increased to 41.9% from 40.8% in FY2019.
Sadly however, women are underrepresented in tech positions, accounting only for 24%, even though an increase of 1.6 percentage points was recorded compared to the previous year. On the other hand, women made up 56.2% of employees in non-tech positions.
The company states in the diversity report that it continues “to invest in gender equity with a particular focus on women in leadership and women in technical roles through our Women’s Initiative (WIN), Women in Tech (WIT) cohort programs in the U.S., India, and China, and our EmpowerIn initiative for women in leadership in APAC.”
Only 5.8% of leaders are Black or Latinx
The LinkedIn diversity report also shows little representation of Black and Latinx communities, both in leadership positions and the overall workforce, with the social networking company pledging to double the number of Black and Latino leaders, managers, and senior individual contributors in the U.S. by 2025.
According to the report, only 6% of LinkedIn employees in the U.S. were Latinx and just 3.9% were Black in FY20, while their shares in leadership positions were even lower, at 3.6% and 2.2% respectively. Even though the report shows some improvement compared to the previous year, the total 5.8% representation of these communities in leadership roles is considered extremely low.
White employees represented 45% of total workforce, holding the vast majority of leadership roles – 58% – while Asian employees represented 42.2% of LinkedIn workforce and 33.8% of leadership.
LinkedIn pledges to double Black and Latinx representation in leadership
As part of its broader strategy, LinkedIn has pledged to focus over the next five years on increasing and maintaining diversity in senior positions and the leadership pipeline. “We’re introducing a new commitment to double the number of Black and Latino leaders, managers, and senior individual contributors on our U.S. team over the next five years,” the company says in its 2020 diversity report.
“We want to be clear that our work is built to create more opportunity more fairly. Creating opportunities for some does not involve taking opportunity away from other groups; rather, our work is focused on expanding our reach and removing barriers to success that disproportionately impact underserved and marginalized communities.”
LinkedIn notes that this commitment will push the company to pursue bolder approaches that will have a positive impact not only on women, Black, and Latino populations, but on its entire global workforce.
Focus on retention and development
Apart from focusing on creating an environment of inclusion, LinkedIn states that retention and development of underrepresented employee populations is a principal FY21 objective. While there was an increase in Black and Latino retention in the U.S. over the course of FY20, the company says it is focused on closing the remaining gap in retention between employees from underrepresented groups and our overall retention rate.
“We are expanding our Leadership, Engagement, and Development (LEAD) program, which is focused on engaging and developing Black and Latino talent in the U.S., to help accelerate career growth and build our leadership pipeline. This year, we are adding additional programs focused on Black and Latino people managers and senior leaders.”
And while LinkedIn only reports on race and ethnicity in the U.S., it states that its focus on retention and development is global. This year, the company is scaling the ImpactIn mentorship program which focuses on mentoring underrepresented talent globally, and Catalyst, a professional development program focused on underrepresented racial groups in EMEA and Latin America, in an effort to double the number of annual participants.