After years of fighting efforts to make those numbers public, Snap, the corporation behind Snapchat, has published its first diversity study today. The study outlines the 3,195-person company’s modest progress in recruiting race and female employees. Black and African American people make up just 4.1 percent of the entire population, according to the survey, and Hispanic / Latinx people made up 6.8 percent. All communities comprise just 3.2% in leadership; Black and African American individuals make up 2.3% in tech jobs and Hispanic / Latinx accounts for 3.4%.
Meanwhile, only 32.9 percent of Snap’s population is made up of women with just 16 percent in professional positions. Along with the numbers, Snap says it is setting new goals; including doubling the number of women in tech at Snap by 2023 and doubling the number of racial and ethnic U.S. underrepresented minorities at Snap by 2025. Long-term, the team says it needs to “represent the (including non-binary) ethnic and gender diversity of the various areas where we work.”
This also discusses how Snap offers workers with a “robust minimum wage” of $70,000 based on its Santa Monica, California headquarters and changes the figure depending on where the workers are housed.
The publication of the diversity study comes after more than a month of heightened criticism over the diversity of Snap and its app. At an all-hands meeting last month, CEO Evan Spiegel told employees that the team would not release these diversity numbers publicly because it could perpetuate the belief that Silicon Valley companies aren’t diverse. (Facebook issued its seventh Diversity Report this year for instance, and 45.3 percent of its employees identify as women, Black or Hispanic.) Spiegel made these statements after a Mashable report outlining the allegations of a racist and sexist workplace. Of starters, one employee said they were asked to substitute a lead shot of Black actors with a “friendlier face.” The same boss told another employee that a story was “too black-heavy” and wanted people of other races to remove any photos of Black people.
While those charges were allegedly being reviewed by Snap, the organization has continued to struggle for publicity. Last month, for Juneteenth, a holiday marking the liberation of slavery in the US, it launched a virtual reality lens that encouraged people to “smile and crack the chains.” Critics thought this was an inappropriate view of the holiday. It was not Snap’s first lens apologized for either — the company had earlier launched a lens featuring Bob Marley in 2016 and an animation filter later that year.
We approached the Lens from Black artistic creators, created by and about Black people, and when used by non-Black members of our culture, they could not properly understand how it should feel, “she said.
Now, Snap joins many of its counterparts in releasing its numbers of diversity, which, although not great, have set it up to be more accountable to the public.
It will also introduce new strategies to meet these goals, such as linking leadership success to diversity, increasing its mentorship network, and innovating its machine learning software to reduce bias.