Pinterest Commits to Actual Diversity Goals

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Tech giants have recently started publishing workplace diversity reports, and so far the results have been pretty discouraging. According to the most recent report from Facebook, the company hired a total of seven black employees between 2013 and 2014 — out of an overall headcount increase of 1,231 workers, 695 of whom were white. Meanwhile, the total number of black female employees at the company is 11. For the most part, such revelations have been followed up by vague, noncommittal pledges to “do better” (or, in the case of Twitter, a tone-deaf employee frat party).

Yesterday, Pinterest took a bolder step to address Silicon Valley’s diversity problem, and published its hiring goals for 2016. In a blog post, co-founder Evan Sharp announced that the company will ensure that woman hold 30 percent of its full-time engineering roles (currently women make up 42 percent of Pinterest’s total workforce, but hold only 19 percent of its engineering positions).

The company also pledged to increase the number of employees from “underrepresented backgrounds” (i.e. not white or Asian) to 8 percent of engineering roles and 12 percent of the total workforce (not including Asians, people of color currently make up 7 percent of Pinterest’s work force, and less than 4 percent of engineering roles). Additionally, Sharp announced that the company would institute a “Rooney Rule,” which calls for at least one woman and one person from an underrepresented background to be interviewed for all leadership positions.

While those goals may seem modest, they’re short-term measures that could have an impact, especially if other tech companies follow suit. “By sharing these goals publicly, we’re holding ourselves accountable to make meaningful changes to how we approach diversity at Pinterest,” Sharp wrote. To reach the targets, the company plans to recruit from a wider range of universities, create a training and mentorship program for black engineers, and have employees participate in unconscious bias training.