Pinterest has spent much of the last year on the defensive in light of a number of racial and gender discrimination allegations and lawsuits. In its latest diversity report, the company says it’s committed to improving its culture and “doing better” in diversifying its workforce.
“Our commitment to building a more inclusive company continues. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, we’re pleased to have reached a milestone: our overall workforce comprised 50% women,” the company says.
In its latest diversity report, Pinterest says that at the end of 2020:
- 49% of global employees were women, up from 47% in 2019 and 42% in 2015.
- 30% of leadership roles were held by women, up from 25% in 2019 and 16% in 2015.
- 29% of engineers globally were women, up from 25% in 2019 and 19% in 2015.
- 12% of U.S. employees were from underrepresented races and ethnicities, up from 10% in 2019 and 3% in 2015.
- 8% of U.S. engineers were from underrepresented races and ethnicities, up from 7% in 2019 and less than 1% in 2015.
Regarding Pinterest’s new hires for 2020:
- 36% in the engineering workforce were women, up from 27% in 2019.
- 28% outside of engineering in the U.S. were from underrepresented races and ethnicities, up from 14% in 2019.
- 10% in engineering in the U.S. were from underrepresented races and ethnicities, up from 9% in 2019.
Pinterest attributes the progress to ensuring that at least 80% of open roles in the U.S. adhered to a diverse slates approach, expanding its apprenticeship program to the product team and focusing on skills and capabilities in its interview process to attract talented candidates from outside of the tech industry.
Low representation of minority groups
Despite progress, Pinterest remains largely a white company. Since last year, representation of Black employees increased slightly, from 4% to 5%, Latinx representation increased from 6% to 7%, Asian representation remained at 44% and the representation of Indigenous employees and those who identify with two or more races both remained at 1%.
Goals set for 2025
Outlining its goals for the next years, the company said it is committed to:
- Increasing the number of people from underrepresented races and ethnicities to 20% by 2025. This work will focus on technical roles and leadership.
- Increasing the number of women in leadership by 20% by 2025.
Numbers do not tell the whole story
Although Pinterest’s diversity and inclusion numbers show some progress, they do not tell the whole story.
2020 was a rocky year for Pinterest. Last June, Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks – two Black women employees – alleged racial and gender discrimination, while in August, former Pinterest COO Françoise Brougher sued the company alleging gender discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination.
In the days following Brougher’s lawsuit, Pinterest’s employees circulated a petition seeking more transparency around promotion levels, retention and total compensation packages.
Pinterest later agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle the lawsuit – however the settlement highlighted deeper inequalities. It sparked conversations about the different outcomes for Brougher, a white woman who walked away with a $20 million payout, compared to Ozoma and Banks, who reportedly received less than one year’s worth of severance.
In December 2020, a group of shareholders filed a lawsuit against Pinterest executives, including CEO Ben Silbermann, alleging they enabled a culture of discrimination within the company.