Recently, some of Silicon Valley's biggest companies have released data about the demographic breakdown of their workforce. Based on the figures released so far, the South Bay average is 30% female, 60% white, 30% Asian, 2% African-American and 3% Hispanic. Fans of eBay will be pleased to hear that the company has a more diverse workforce than others in the area, with 42% of employees being female and 7% black.
Such a patent lack of diversity is no doubt why companies such as Google have organised "unconscious bias" training for their employees. Such training can help to counteract the ‘mirroring’ effect within the recruitment process, as described by Michelle Quinn in her article.
Are your company’s diversity initiatives not yielding the desired results at the speed you would like? It is worth considering whether the dark forces of unconscious bias might be responsible.
There's also something to the notion that Silicon Valley is actually one big company with a Google division, a Facebook division, the startup department and so on. That may contribute to the similar workforce demographics. What appears to be at work here is more subtle, but just as damaging as straightforward bias. "People move frequently between companies, and attitudes, bias, etc., transfer easily," said Tracy Chou, a software engineer at Pinterest who has been a leading voice in the effort to push tech firms to disclose their demographics.