Pinterest hires its first head of diversity following criticism

Is Silicon Valley finally trying to address its workforce diversity issues?

Silhouette of a woman sitting at a desk in front of a computer

Pinterest has named a black woman, Candice Morgan, as its first head of diversity, following the company's pledge to employ more women and underrepresented minorities in 2016 and beyond. 

As Pinterest's head of diversity, Morgan will work to ensure the company reaches the goals previously it set out for itself as well as working with outside partners and internal employee groups, the company said. 

As of July 2015, two-thirds of Pinterest's employees on its business side were women, but only 21 of tech jobs and 19 per cent of engineering jobs were occupied by women in comparison. Additionally, 84 per cent of leadership roles were filled by men, and only eight per cent of all employees were not white or Asian.

Before landing the position at the social media site, Morgan worked for Catalyst, according to the Wall Street Journal, a nonprofit research group dedicated to women in business, for almost ten years.

Her hiring comes amid increasing pressure on tech companies to diversify their recruitment of technical and leadership roles. 

Pinterest recently confirmed it would like to increase its hiring rate for engineering roles to 30 per cent women and eight per cent underrepresented minorities. As of July, these figures had reached 21 per cent and two per cent, respectively. 

Candice Morgan, from her LinkedIn profile

Earlier this year, Twitter hired Jeffrey Siminoff as its own VP of diversity after coming under fire for its diversity policies. In a blog post written last November, senior vice president of engineering Alex Roetter said: "I realise that we have blind spots, myself included.

"One of mine is that I have a tendency to default to engineering-driven, quantitative solutions... We as a company are working to address our blind spots swiftly to build a Twitter that will make our employees and people who use our services proud." 

His response came after criticism from former engineering manager for Twitter, Leslie Miley, who left the company last year. 

Last June, a similarly grim picture was painted from Facebook's diversity figures, with 68 per cent of the company's workforce made up of men. In the technology division, just 16 per cent of workers are female and 91 per cent of workers across the company are white or Asian.  

To help combat the problem, Pinterest will launch two new programmes the year-long Apprenticeship Program and Pinterest Engage, an eight-week-long summer internship, aimed at helping people from "underrepresented backgrounds" develop skills relevant to large-scale companies like Pinterest and others. 

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