Ethnic and gender ‘diversity’ in Silicon Valley

From today’s New York Times:

When Facebook released its workplace diversity numbers on Thursday, the company included a somewhat heartening message.

“It’s clear to all of us that we still aren’t where we want to be,” Maxine Williams, Facebook’s global head of diversity, wrote. “There’s more work to do.”

But it was almost exactly the same thing Ms. Williams said a year ago. “We have more work to do — a lot more,” she wrote in 2014.

Facebook’s tone is hardly singular. “Like our peers, we have a lot of work to do,” Twitter said in a diversity report it posted last year. Pinterest has said, “We’re not close to where we want to be, but we’re working on it.”

Google’s 2014 statement, which came before those of other companies, seems to have been the template. “Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity,” Laszlo Bock, its senior vice president for people operations, wrote at the time.

It is as if these large tech companies are all reading from the same public relations playbook, delivering slight variations on the same self-effacing message. But while they all seem to acknowledge that there is much improvement to be made, the repetition of the statements like Facebook’s last week provides a reminder that there has been little progress so far.

Well, well.