Diversity in Tech: Dropbox's 2015 Report Shows Bits of Progress Among Mostly Static Figures
Dropbox finally dropped its diversity report for 2015, and like many other Silicon Valley companies, it shows that the company has slightly improved in some aspects, while declining in others. Here are the details.
Women in Leadership Roles and Elsewhere
Dropbox released its diversity figures in a blog post on Thursday, where it touted an increase in women in leadership roles at the company. In 2015, staff at the VP level for Dropbox included 25 percent women, as noted by TechCrunch. Overall, women held 21 percent of senior leadership roles, while 31 percent of managers were women.
However, the proportion of women working at Dropbox worldwide dropped nearly two percent, from 33.9 percent in 2014 to 32 percent now. But women in technical roles -- which, like leadership positions, tends to be more dominated by white/male workers than non-tech roles -- increased to 19 percent from a little over 12 percent the year before.
Meanwhile, Latinos and Blacks at the company remain extremely rare, though a slight improvement was shown over the last year at Dropbox. Latinos made up five percent of Dropbox's staff in 2015, which is up from 3.7 percent the year before.
The company doubled the proportion of African American employees over the year, but that's not saying much: the rate went from up to two percent.
White and Asian American employees still dominate Dropbox, as is the case most everywhere else in Silicon Valley. The company in 2015 had 59 percent white employees, and 30 percent Asian American. White Dropbox staff at the top positions in the company was reported at an incredible 73 percent.
Dropbox admitted it still has much room for improvement, especially in the proportion of Blacks and Latinos working at the company.
"We've made progress in some areas such as attracting more women to our engineering teams, and promoting more women to leadership positions. Twenty-five percent of our VPs are now women. However, despite concerted efforts, the overall percentage of women in the company declined," wrote Dropbox's global head of diversity Judith Michell Williams on the company's blog.
"And although we've seen improvement in the number of Blacks and Hispanics in the company, and in technical roles, their representation is starting from a very low base," she added. "We know we have to do a lot better. Our goal is to continue to increase the number of women and underrepresented minority applicants in our pipeline and make sure we remove any biases in the hiring process."
She also took time to point out that bias was a wider problem than in the technology industry, citing the worlds of finance, advertising, and media as examples of other industries that face similar challenges.
Williams said Dropbox would be taking on those challenges heading into 2016 by broadening the networks it uses to find candidates for positions, while raising awareness of, and involvement in, diverse communities its company's culture.
"As we deepen our involvement with diverse communities, these networks complete the circle and bring all kinds of people into our pipeline," wrote Williams. "Overall, I am optimistic about the challenges ahead of all of us. We are building the future, and we are committed to having every person see themselves there."
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