Amazon's diversity statistics are predictably similar to the rest of Silicon Valley, but Amazon stands out from the rest in what it didn't disclose. Meanwhile, Jesse Jackson has called for more egalitarianism from the tech industry.

In the long wake of a summer full of diversity disclosures by some of the top companies in Silicon Valley, Seattle-based Amazon finally disclosed some of its workplace statistics at the end of last week. Unsurprisingly, it turns out Amazon is run mostly by white men; Now, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has urged more action from the tech industry -- specifically calling out Apple and CEO Tim Cook.

"Diversity" At Amazon

Late last week, Amazon booted up its diversity webpage for the first time, disclosing demographic statistics about some, but not all, of its workforce.

Amazon tried to soften the blow, exploiting its knack for product presentation to an almost comic degree:

Sandwiched between a half-dozen splashy photos featuring the politic mix of non-white, female employees, labeled with big, cheerful captions like "Learning From Each Other" -- and accompanied by reams of text describing just about every tangentially-related charitable, community, or otherwise socially-conscious initiative that the company supports -- you'll find one humble row of pie charts marked "Our Workforce Demographics."

(Photo : Amazon)

Amazon's workforce is 63 percent male and 60 percent white overall, and it only skews more towards white males when it comes to employees in positions of power: Fully three out of four managers are men, and managers are almost that likely to be white as well. Hispanics only make up nine percent of the overall workforce, and less than half of that meager proportion being on the managerial level.

Amazon's numbers aren't something to boast about, but it's not particularly unusual for a big tech company. Google -- which, to its credit, got the ball rolling this year on transparency about diversity in the workplace -- disclosed even higher levels of gender and ethnic imbalance than Amazon. As we previously reported, Google's workforce is made up of 70 percent men, with Hispanics and Blacks taken together accounting for only one out of every 20 Google employees.

Some, particularly eBay, have better numbers at least on overall gender parity, with women accounting for 42 percent of the general workforce and just barely below half of non-tech jobs in the company (via TechCrunch). But eBay figures -- and those of every other major Silicon Valley company -- sharply skew towards white and male when the demographics are broken down for technical jobs and positions of authority.

Amazon is likely the same way when it comes to tech jobs, but for some reason, the company decided not to disclose that particular workplace statistic, as many others have.

Looking at the numbers, it's also worth considering the difference between Amazon and other tech companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. More than any tech company this side of the Pacific, Amazon relies on a lot of lower-skilled, lower-paid warehouse workers, which likely skews its overall workforce makeup towards less privileged minorities, especially compared to largely software or web-based companies.

Jesse Jackson to Apple:

Take The Lead in Fair Wages for Tech's Service Workers

But no matter how cloud-based its specialty, every technology company needs people to keep their offices clean and turn the lights off at night. And those workers are who the Rev. Jesse Jackson -- who pushed for Silicon Valley's transparency on diversity early this year, before Google took the first step -- is calling attention to now.

In a statement released yesterday, Jackson, and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition he heads, issued a call to Silicon Valley companies to address "the plight of thousands of low wage service workers who mop the floors, secure the buildings, and rake the leaves" at the billion-dollar facilities that those titans of technology call home.

Citing figures reported by USA Today, Jackson stated that "for every tech job created, four service workers are needed to support it."

The "Invisible Workforce": Silicon Valley's Other Imbalance

According to an in depth report by Working Partnerships USA, some of those supporting roles in Silicon Valley are nearly as likely to be staffed by Latinos as senior management positions are to be filled by white men. Latinos make up 69 percent of janitors and almost three out of four grounds maintenance workers in Silicon Valley's Santa Clara County.

Most of those jobs are hired through contractors, and so they are officially counted in the companies' overall workplace statistics, leading them to be dubbed Silicon Valley's "invisible workforce."

Jackson asserted that some tech companies are effectively leaving this invisible workforce behind "by hiring irresponsible contractors who pay low wages and benefits." Indeed, even given the expected contrast in salary from one tech position to the other, the difference between median hourly wages for software developers and service workers in Silicon Valley is striking.

(Photo : Working Partnerships USA)

And that doesn't take into account the less closely tracked wage indexes like sick days. Working Partnerships USA's report states that, from the limited data that's available regarding benefits for contract jobs in Silicon Valley, the majority of contractors do not allow workers even one paid sick day.

But in the same building, it would be scandalous, front-page ValleyWag news if the bosses disallowed paid time off for their white-collar employees.

Flattery Will Get You... Economic Justice? 

Jackson wants that to change, and has picked Apple as the exemplar to set things in motion.

"The good news is that, with Apple's leadership, we can correct the imbalance in the economy and make strides to close the income inequality gap and deliver some measure of economic justice to these service workers," wrote Jackson. "Apple can commit to responsible contracting that provides service workers with good, family-supporting, dignified jobs and access to the economic opportunities generated by the tech industry."

He added, "There's an easy way of doing business -- and then there's the Apple way: a commitment to excellence and respect for all."

How CEO Tim Cook reacts to Jackson's (unsolicited) compliment may make more of a direct impact on the lives of minorities -- and especially Latinos -- presently working in Silicon Valley than a googolplex worth of diversity data disclosures.