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Pinterest Throws Down the Gauntlet on Hiring Women and People of Color By Setting Numbers for Their Goals

Lots of tech companies talk a big game about wanting to hire more women and more underrepresented people of color, but fewer report how exactly they’re going to accomplish it, or even what their actual number goals are. Well, Pinterest has stepped up to the plate and announced exactly how many women and PoCs they want to join their ranks by next year.

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While women account for two-thirds of Pinterest’s business team (yay!), they are less represented in tech and engineering with women comprising 21% and 19% of those jobs, respectively. Women also lost leadership positions at Pinterest this year, with the percentage falling from last year’s 19% to its current 16%. This is interesting, considering that, as reported by Marketing Land, Pinterest’s user base is 80% female, and women account for 92% of “pins” posted to the site.

It isn’t only women who’ve lost some ground at Pinterest. Only 2% of Pinterest’s engineers are underrepresented PoCs. Its work force in general is mostly white and Asian. White employees account for more than half of the total Pinterest staff, while Asians account for 43%. Meanwhile, Latin@s account for 2%, and black employees account for 1%.  Yowza.

But Pinterest is clearly pinterested (#sorrynotsorry) in making some serious changes, the first step of which was to publicly announce hiring goals, which other internet companies like Facebook and Yahoo! have yet to do. In a blog post about their diversity efforts posted yesterday, Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp said:

We think one reason it’s been so hard to get numbers to change is that companies haven’t stated specific goals. Now that companies are regularly reporting their data, it’s clear not a lot of progress has been made.

It’s true. You can’t really change something when you don’t know what you want to change it TO, so Pinterest announced that they want to increase their hiring rate for women in their engineering positions to 30%, while raising them for underrepresented PoCs to 8%.

Step One – acknowledge you have a problem. Step Two – implement solutions. So, what are some of Pinterest’s? According to the Wall Street Journal:

It will implement a “Rooney Rule” that requires at least one underrepresented minority and one female candidate be considered for each leadership opening. The Rooney Rule, started by the National Football League in 2003, requires teams to interview minorities during searches for new head coaches and general managers. Facebook recently said it is trying out a version of the Rooney Rule.

In addition, Pinterest will work with outside groups to figure out ways it can improve diversity, recruit from a larger pool of universities and require employee training to prevent unconscious bias.

These sound like solid steps to take, and it’s heartening to see an internet company that already has more women working for it than any other company taking steps to go further, particularly where women and people of color in STEM are concerned. This is what progress looks like – not being satisfied that you’ve done “enough,” but striving to be better.

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.

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