Pinterest falls short of its goal for female tech hires

Image: associated press/Julian Stratenschulte/picture-alliance/dpa

Pinterest has fallen short of its own goal to hire more women in tech roles, despite modest overall progress towards a more diverse workforce in the past year.

The social scrapbooking site released a yearly update on employee demographics in a blog post Friday.

In it, the company stacked the diversity of its hires over the past year against ambitious target stats it had set for itself.

Pinterest said it managed to boost the portion of women in its tech departments from 21 percent to 26 percent a marked improvement from the year before, when the number remained stagnant.

But the rate at which it hired women engineers 22 percent of all successful candidates undershot the 30-percent mark the company had hoped to reach.

Chief Executive Ben Silbermann claimed in the post that the discrepancy was in part due to a focus on placing women in senior positions, for which the hiring process tends to take longer.

The same goal for the next year was lowered to 25 percent to reflect that shortcoming.

“We still aspire to 30%but realize its likely going to take more than 12 months to get there,” Silbermann wrote.

The company had more success in other categories. The rate of new hires among underrepresented ethnicities exceeded the 8 percent goal for engineering roles by a percentage point and matched the 12-percent target for non-tech jobs.

While the company brought on a few new top leaders of minority descent this year, its senior slate remains 70 percent white and 22 percent Asian without a single black employee.

Pinterest’s workforce as a whole also remains predominantly white 49 percent of total employees and Asian 41 percent. The company did however manage to double its small fractions of black and Hispanic employees from 1 to 2 percent and 2 to 4 percent respectively.

The company credits the improvement in large part to a new executive hiring policy modeled after the “Rooney Rule” an NFL mandate that requires that at least one minority candidate be interviewed for every head coaching position. Silbermann says the policy will be expanded to more parts of the company in the upcoming year.

Activism and critical media attention around the scarcity of women and minorities among tech workers has forced Silicon Valley businesses to be more forthcoming about disclosing hiring practices and diversity within their ranks in recent years.

Pinterest has been seen as a leader in this arena since one of its engineers, Tracy Chou, publicly posted an employee spreadsheet and called on other tech companies to do the same in 2013.

It is also one of the few major companies to publicly divulge internal goals.

While much progress has been made towards transparency in this regard among tech companies, improvement in the actual numbers has been much slower. The vast majority of these regular reports tend to show minimal steps forward at best.

Many of these companies are already dragging their feet in releasing year-end stats. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Twitter, Pinterest and Salesforce had all delayed their planned announcements some even until the new year.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/12/16/pinterest-diversity-goals-results/