Spotify diversity and inclusion report not shy about room for improvement
- Women make up just over a third of Spotify's global workforce (38.7%), according to the Swedish-based entertainment company's diversity and inclusion (D&I) report. According to the report, women make up 31.9% of the leadership team, down 1.6% from two years ago. Women constitute 33% of board membership, an increase by 33% from two years ago. And women account for 38.4% of management and 28% of the C-suite for the company, up 2.4% and 14% respectively.
- The report showed the U.S. workforce's ethnic breakdown (in keeping with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reporting guidelines) as 50% white, 14.8% Asian, 6.1% Black, 5.5% Hispanic and 2.7% mixed race. The percentage of workers identifying as white dropped 15% in two years, while all other demographics rose between 2% and 3%. Other demographic data in the report included the portion of employees with disabilities (3%), workers identifying as LGBTQ+ (11%), military veterans (1%) and people who say they observe a religion (25%), most of which increased over two years, according to the report.
- Spotify said in releasing the D&I results, its focus wasn't on reporting or improving the data, but on making sure that diversity matters and "to get real about our current status." The company added that it wants a workplace climate in which all employees feel welcome and valued. Spotify also identified the areas where more focus is needed, which include women's senior leadership roles and overall representation in technology, racial diversity and investment in employees' intersectional experiences.
Data is an important part of defining the diversity and inclusion problem tech companies face, as the industry's diversity struggles are well documented and often discussed. Many firms focus on quotas, at the expense of inclusion; some even balk at diversity, negatively equating it with affirmative action. Other tech companies have slowed down their D&I efforts, according to recent research, while some tech employees said they're satisfied with their organization's D&I gains. It's a complicated issue.
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) had pushed the industry to diversify their workforce. In response, the Internet Association, a lobbying group representing Google, Amazon and Facebook, said in January it was launching a campaign to address the issue. Part of the group's effort will include a commitment to publishing accurate industry-wide data.
Diversity without inclusion won't create a multifarious workplace. Hiring more people of color, women, workers of diverse ages and experience, LGBTQ employees and people with disabilities is futile unless workers feel accepted, respected and a valued part of an organization. Companies will have difficulty retaining and engaging employees who feel disenfranchised or mistreated. For D&I efforts to succeed, research indicates that data provides a critical base for understanding where to start but implementation and culture initiatives are critical to creating real change.