Single White Male? Amazon's Lack Of Diversity Revealed

Nov 03, 2014

Ecommerce giant Amazon finally buckled to US pressure and broke out the ethnic composition of its US workforce last week - and basicaly suprised no-one by confirming that even if it is situtated miles from Silicon Valley, it shares many of the latter's white male stereotype staff profile.

The firm employs over 88,000 people worldwide of which the vast majority, 63%, are male, while white employees make up a total of 60% of the workplace.

Those ratios are even higher for managers, of whom 75% were male - and 71% white.

African-Americans compose 15% of Amazon’s global employees, but only 4% of its managers, says US commentators, while Hispanics make up 9% of the total workforce but only 4% of manager positions. Asians were the only race and ethnicity group to have a larger percentage of managers (18%) as compared to its overall percentage of workers (13%).

Of 'Amazonians,' as the company dubs its workers, women are 37% of the workforce but only 25% of management.

“Amazon has hundreds of millions of customers who can benefit from diversity of thought,” the company's HR department nonethless breezed.

“We are a company of builders who bring varying backgrounds, ideas, and points of view to inventing on behalf of our customers.”

Amazon is the latest in a long line of big US technology companies more or less forced into 'voluntary disclosures' of such data, with Facebook, Twitter and Google having gone before.

Thus at Google, 70% of employees are men and 61% are white, while Facebook’s employees are 69% male and 57% white, according to reports released earlier this year.

The Seattle retailer had come under the spotlight after equality campaigner the Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition and newspaper USA Today had requested it to publish racial and gender breakdowns of its workforce.

Jackson is also reported to have approached its CEO, Jeff Bezos, separately.

STEM: Root Of The Problem?

Amazon at least has a reasonable answer to the disparity: educational disadvantage. Minorities and women ifigure poorly in its ranks because they also do so in SETM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in American (and prsumbaly, other nationality) schools.

“We know that in middle school and high school, students are already deciding what professions they want to pursue... More often than not, female students and students of color are opting out of technology and engineering.”

Jackson's group responded with an analysis of 20 boards of tech companies, including Amazon, Apple, Yelp, Google and Facebook, that revealed out of 183 board members , only three were black and one was Hispanic.

“The virtual lack of inclusion in Silicon Valley and other tech companies like Amazon is a systemic problem,” it warned.

“Silicon Valley and the tech industry must transform itself to resemble the America it depends upon for talent and customers.”



“African Americans and people of color ‘over-index’ as users and consumers, but ‘under-index’ in their representation and inclusion in the boardrooms, and executive suites, the workforce and as business partners,” the coalition added.

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