Airbnb pledges to hire diversity head, says ‘We’re determined to do better’

Airbnb pledges to hire diversity head, says ‘We’re determined to do better’

Today Airbnb revealed diversity statistics for its global staff, following a trend initiated by Google to publicly share this information.

Though the platform for connecting travelers with rentable rooms and apartments has a better outlook than most, the company still said it’s committed to improving its diversity.

Overall the company is 46.3 percent female and 53.7 percent male, putting it slightly ahead of Pinterest, which is 42 percent female. In further comparison, Twitter is 64 percent male and Facebook is 68 percent male.

Unlike other tech companies, Airbnb didn’t break out its gender report into numbers of female executives and number of female engineers. This is often a key insight into whether women are being siloed into particular roles like marketing, human resources, or administrative tasks.

In terms of ethnic diversity, the company is on par with other tech companies.

Airbnb is overwhelmingly white (63 percent). The next largest ethic minority group is Asian, which comprises 22 percent of Airbnb employees. From there the percentages drop off, though 7.1 percent of Airbnbers identify as Hispanic or Latino — a larger percentage than the 3 to 4 percent that most tech companies report. Percentages of Black, Pacific Islander, and American Indian employees fall within standard (low) percentages.

Again, without details on how diversity breaks down within certain departments, it’s hard to determine how diverse Airbnb really is. The company doesn’t directly acknowledge this lack of data, but instead promises to increase its level of diversity.

“While we are proud that our global workforce is almost equally divided between women and men, and that a significant percentage of our senior managers are women, we’re not happy with the overall numbers,” wrote Belinda Johnson, Airbnb’s chief of business affairs, in a blog post. “They’re nowhere near good enough and we’re determined to do better.”

To “do better” the company is hoping to hire a “head of diversity and belonging,” who will be in charge of leading recruitment efforts. Airbnb also plans on expanding its paternity leave to 10 weeks as well as helping team members address their unconscious biases and partnering with nonprofit organizations to grow the number of diverse candidates in the broader tech talent pool.

Here’s a full list of what Airbnb plans to do in the coming months to improve diversity:

We are working to hire a full-time Head of Diversity and Belonging who will lead our efforts to attract, recruit, and retain a more diverse workforce across our organization and promote belonging both internally, in our community and around the world.

We are working with incredible groups like the Level Playing Field Institute, First Graduate, the Digital Diversity Media Network, Code 2040, Lesbians Who Tech, Anita Borg Institute and their Grace Hopper Celebration and others to build the pipeline of talented individuals from all backgrounds who have the opportunity to pursue careers in technology.

This past February, every Airbnb employee across the globe participated in a team training aimed at recognizing and combatting unconscious bias. In November, we’ll be offering resources on fighting unconscious bias to our host community at the Airbnb Open.

In an effort to better support our working families, in the US we have developed an enhanced Parental Leave Program to ensure that all parents (mothers, fathers, adopting, same-sex) can take 10 weeks of paid time off, and are eligible within 60 days of joining our team. Women may also receive paid Pregnancy Leave in addition to Parental Leave. Outside the US, we work within local legal and regulatory structures to best support our employees take the time that they need as they start their families.

We’re recruiting more thoughtfully, from assessing the language used in our job descriptions to applying data specifically to expand our recruiting channels, make more informed decisions and to try to identify where and why diverse candidates drop out of our talent pipeline so we can improve. We are already seeing results.

Since formalizing our AIRfinity (employee-resource) groups earlier this year, we have been able to support and engage our employees in important outreach, retention, and education efforts. These groups bring our employees together across the company and around the globe. Currently, our teams reflect our LGBTQ, African American, Latino/a, Women in Tech/Engineering, Veterans, and Parents communities. With company support and resources, we are excited for our AIRfinity groups to continue to expand and grow.

Through collaborations with groups like Travel Noire and the Stanford Center on Longevity, we are working to both deepen our ties to diverse communities and connect with new hosts and guests.

We are also proud to support and welcome diverse populations into our community by working with global nonprofit partners like Summer Search, the Honor Foundation, and Atlas Corps to provide free housing accommodations to diverse communities such as low-income students, military veterans, and non-profit leaders. We are continually expanding this work.


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