Last week Google released demographic data about its hires that confirmed what you already knew: the tech monolith’s workforce is predominantly white guys. “We’re not where we want to be when it comes to diversity,” Google PR concedes.
Never one to resist kicking someone after they’ve knocked themselves down, I drew a cartoon making fun of Google’s white maleness.
Google’s reveal sparked, if not exactly a soul-searching “national dialogue” culminating in a craft beer summit, a discussion about how tech companies can transform their workforces to more closely resemble America (and conform to federal laws requiring that employers actively pursue women and ethnic minority workers).
Too many dudebros in your startup? There’s a new app for that.
Entelo CEO Jon Bischke told me that his company’s Entelo Diversity app, launched about a month ago, has “indexed over a billion web profiles to help companies to identify people to hire who might have the best experience, but also might offer the diversity companies want. We crawl publicly accessibly web data. We put that into a database. Our emphasis is high tech.”
Entelo launched in 2011 and claims 130 corporate clients.
Entelo combs hundreds of millions of social media-based data points, including resumes posted to LinkedIn, in order to analyze a company’s current demographic mix and to identify potential candidates “whose social profiles indicate a high probability of meeting a specific gender or ethnicity, as well as candidates who may have previous military experience,” reads Entelo’s press release. “Since this information is layered on top of a candidate’s qualifications and skills, Entelo is able to provide a level of objectivity that ensures that hiring practices aren’t discriminatory in nature.”
Entelo’s algorithms coughed up the following results for major tech companies:
AirBnB – 63.4% male, 36.6% female
AOL – 67.0% male, 33.0% female
Eventbrite – 68.0% male, 32.0% female
Intuit – 68.7% male, 31.3% female
ZenDesk – 69.2% male, 30.8% female
Adobe – 69.5% male, 30.5% female
Symantec – 70.8% male, 29.2% female
Marketo – 71.3% male, 28.7% female
Quantcast – 71.5% male, 28.5% female
Box – 71.9% male, 28.1% female
Entelo ran a set of queries on candidates in the company’s database, indexed from publicly available social data to isolate “tech workers” at each company.
The query was: “engineer OR sde OR developer OR programmer OR sre OR “Member of Technical Staff” OR “Data” OR Code OR IT OR “Solutions” OR technical OR sdet OR product OR designer”).” An algorithm predicted the proportion of women at each company.
Entelo predicted Google was 20% female. The actual figure is 17%.
For tech overall, Entelo came up with 25.9%; numbers publicly disclosed for the Valley as a whole range between 23% and 25%.
I asked Bischke about reverse discrimination. “You should always hire the best person for the job,” he replied. “But it’s our strong feeling that companies want to make sure that they hire from a diverse applicant pool. This tool is doing something that companies have been doing for many many years to target underrepresented groups.”
Google, he says, “is way ahead of the curve.” Entelo is targeted at smaller companies “who don’t have the resources but want to recruit more women on the team, more African-Americans.”
The paucity of women and minorities in tech doesn’t just reflect institutional bias. They’re underrepresented among STEM majors. “We simply need more women in STEM,” Bischke admits. “We need more Hispanic and African-American people getting computer science degrees.”
Of Entelo’s 21 staffers, “eight or nine” are women and “about a third” are minority. But these things are complicated. When asked for a racial breakdown, Bischke said he didn’t have one. “Our head of recruiting is half-Asian, half-African-American,” he said. “How do we count her?”