After years of playing down the problem, technology companies like Google, Facebook and Apple now say they're serious about improving the gender and ethnic diversity of their work forces and corporate boards. Recent data from those companies and others like them confirm what everyone has long known: Most of their employees are white and Asian men. Among technical employees, few are women, and even fewer are Latino or African-American.
Tech companies should care about these numbers. Many studies show that companies with gender and ethnic diversity tend to be more creative and more profitable, because varied perspectives help them design products and services that appeal to a diverse, worldwide audience.
These are the opening paragraphs of an editorial by the New York Times editorial board. The editorial, published October 5 in print, is titled "Silicon Valley's Diversity Problem."
The editorial also states:
Other kinds of businesses have used a similar approach. The National Football League, for example, has the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for every head coach or general manager opening.
The Times says it is a "problem" that "Most [Silicon Valley] employees are white and Asian men." So let's count! Sure enough, 11 of the editorial board's 19 members are white or Asian men. Worse, only one out of 19 is African-American. That's a little under one-half the proportion of African-Americans in the population. How about a Rooney Rule for the New York Times?