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Etsy doubles minority hires but still has work to do

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An employee walks past a quilt displaying Etsy Inc. signage at the company’s headquarters in the Brooklyn.

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Etsy said Wednesday it continued to diversify its workforce over the last year, but stressed it has more work to do.

The e-commerce site said it doubled its number of black and Latino hires to 15% last year, according to the company’s latest diversity and inclusion report. By the end of 2019, black and Latino employees represented 11% of Etsy’s workforce, bringing the total up from 8.5%, according to the report. Etsy had 1,209 employees as of Sept. 30, 2019, with a majority of those employees based in the U.S. The company’s diversity report only reflects its U.S. workforce.

Etsy also remains one of the few tech companies with gender parity. At least half of its board, workforce and executive team are made up of women.

“We’re proud of our progress, but we know there’s room to continue to expand on that,” Etsy’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion Elizabeth Spector Louden said in an interview with CNBC.

Etsy committed in 2017 to “meaningfully increase representation” and put numbers to that last February. By 2023, Etsy wants to double its number of black and Latino employees, bringing it to about 17.5% or 18%.

For 2020, Spector Louden said Etsy plans to focus on hiring more women and minorities for leadership roles and can do so by taking a “holistic approach” to the process. She added that among its changes, the company so far has implemented mentorship programs, created hiring rubrics to be more fair and made changes to its performance management system.

“Our progress on diversity hasn’t happened overnight. This really has been the result of longstanding efforts,” Spector Louden said. “Diversity in the tech sector is a major area of concern.”

The lack of diversity among Silicon Valley tech companies is common, but several big tech companies do report key figures to increase transparency. In its latest diversity report, Pinterest said 6% of its workers were Hispanic or Latino and 4% were black. In 2019, 3.8% of Google’s overall workforce were Latino, while 2.7% were black. Twitter last year reported that 5.7% were black and 4.7% Latino.

Last week, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon told CNBC that the investment bank, which backed companies such as Facebook and Square, wouldn’t take companies public unless they had at least one “diverse” board member, with a focus on women.

“Look, we might miss some business, but in the long run, this I think is the best advice for companies that want to drive premium returns for their shareholders over time,” Solomon said while attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.





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