Pinterest’s diversity report: mostly White, Asian and led by men
Pinterest founders Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann

Pinterest’s diversity report: mostly White, Asian and led by men

25 Jul 2014

Having previously set about finding out how many female engineers there are working in tech, Pinterest software engineer and tech lead Tracy Chou has now released her own company’s diversity report.

In October 2013, Chou took to Medium to ask, ‘Where are the numbers?’ in terms of women working in tech – specifically, in engineering.

She set the ball rolling by revealing that Pinterest’s engineers numbered 89, 11 of whom were women. This gives the girls an 11pc share, which Chou noted was a reflection of the percentage of women emerging from undergraduate computer science programmes. Additionally, Chou’s inaugural intern class had eight women out of 28 engineers, measuring up to a more substantial 29pc.

To quell her curiosity on the numbers elsewhere, Chou set up a Github repo to track how many women were working in tech at individual companies and welcomed contributions. Since then, over 160 start-ups have added their figures and, so far, the tally has reached an average of 15pc female engineeers.

Diversity is trending

On top of Chou’s gender investigation, it has become a trend for top tech players to share diversity reports showing the breakdown of their workplace demographics by gender and ethnicity. Google started the trend, followed by LinkedIn, Yahoo!, Facebook and Twitter.

Falling in line with this trend, Chou has posted Pinterest’s diversity report, revealing that, as a whole, the company is made up of 40pc women to 60pc men. However, a gender imbalance is apparent when it comes to tech and leadership roles, which measure 21pc and 19pc women respectively. Again, the tech interns buck the trend at 32pc women.

In terms of ethnicity, the company is largely made up of Caucasian (50pc) and Asian (42pc) employees.

Work to be done

“We only stand to improve the quality and impact of our products if the people building them are representative of the user base and reflect the same diversity of demography, culture, life experiences and interests that makes our community so vibrant,” wrote Chou in her post on the official Pinterest engineering blog.

In the case of Pinterest, a lack of female leaders is jarring considering the network is largely dominated by female users.

“As we look ahead, we’ve put particular focus on inclusion efforts in hiring earlier in the engineering pipeline, recruiting a 29pc female inaugural engineering intern class last year and 32pc female this year. Beyond hiring, we’re mindful of processes and practices that may affect success and retention of employees coming from less represented backgrounds.”

Chou also noted the organisations with which Pinterest has partnered to effect change in these demographics, such as Girls Who Code and the Anita Borg Institute. As with every other tech diversity report we have seen over the past few months, Chou resigns that a lot more must be done to diversify these workplaces.

Elaine Burke
By Elaine Burke

Elaine Burke was editor of Silicon Republic until 2023, and is now the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. Elaine joined Silicon Republic in 2011 as a journalist covering gadgets, new media and tech jobs. She later served as managing editor before stepping up as editor in 2019. She comes from a background in publishing and is known for being particularly pernickety when it comes to spelling and grammar – earning her the nickname, Critical Red Pen.

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