Twitter to increase female headcount to 35pc in major diversity push

29 Aug 2015

Twitter has set new diversity goals that will increase the percentage of female employees as well as underrepresented minorities in leadership and tech positions

Twitter said that it wants to become a more diverse company by 2016 and will increase the percentage of female employees from 30pc to 35pc by next year. It will also boost the number of women in technical roles from 10pc to 16pc and women in leadership roles from 21pc to 25pc.

Twitter has also committed to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in its workforce, growing this from 7pc to 11pc overall by next year, including 9pc in tech roles and 6pc in leadership roles.

“We want the makeup of our company to reflect the vast range of people who use Twitter,” Janet Van Huysse, Twitter’s VP for diversity and inclusion, said.

“Doing so will help us build a product to better serve people around the world.

“While we’ve already been working towards internal diversity goals at different levels of the company, I’m very pleased to report that we are now setting company-wide diversity goals — and we’re sharing them publicly.”

Moving the needle on diversity

Van Huysse said that the aim is to not only move the needle at Twitter but also across the tech industry.

This will involve partnering with organisations like Management Leaders of Tomorrow, #YesWeCode, the Level Playing Field Institute, and the local and national offices of NBMBAA.

Twitter will also focus on actively recruiting at colleges and universities for underrepresented talent and will be on campus at a number of historically black colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions. A list of the institutions whose campuses will be the focus of Twitter can be found here or follow @TwitterU

Twitter has begun using Textio to ensure job descriptions appeal to a broad range of applicants, increasing the diversity of interview panels, and posting openings where more underrepresented candidates will see them.

‘We want the makeup of our company to reflect the vast range of people who use Twitter’

Twitter will also increase its support for women in tech. It recently launched the inaugural @WomEng Grace Hopper Fellowship Program that will sponsor 10 women to attend the Grace Hopper Conference; it has partnered with UC Berkeley’s Girls in Engineering program to teach 65 middle school girls how to code at its Twitter @NeighborNest; hosted workshops in London, where it offered 100 women graduates career advice; and hosted summer programs for Girls Who Code in its San Francisco, New York and Boston offices.

“We considered simply setting company-wide hiring goals, but we don’t want to stop at that,” Van Huysse said.

“If our aim is to build a company we can really be proud of — one that’s more inclusive and diverse — we need to make sure it’s a great place for both new and current employees to work and to grow. That’s why these new goals focus on increasing the overall representation of women and underrepresented minorities throughout the whole company.”

Twitter’s diversity goals for 2016

  • Increase women overall to 35pc
  • Increase women in tech roles to 16pc
  • Increase women in leadership roles to 25pc
  • Increase underrepresented minorities overall to 11pc
  • Increase underrepresented minorities in tech roles to 9pc
  • Increase underrepresented minorities in leadership roles to 6pc

Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Intel, Eircom, Fidelity Investments, ESB, Accenture and CoderDojo.

Diversity image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years