Case in the News Questionnaire 2
Your management case assignment for chapter three consists of:
1 – Answering the Case: Case in the News- Questionnaire 2, questions 1, 2 & 3 (Attached here and under Week 3/Readings).
Your answers will be submitted in a Word document and ensure they answer completely what the questions are asking. In addition, make sure to write complete sentences and check spelling. Avoid to copy/paste from textbook or any other source. Cite the source if you’re quoting somebody’s intellectual work. Please, be original and creative when addressing the questions and avoid plagiarism.
Questionnaire 2: Case in the News- Bloomberg Businessweek -Chapter 3
Bloomberg Businessweek Case in the News In the Land of the Blind Hire
Author: Ellen Huet
In October 2013, Tracy Chou publicly challenged tech companies to tell the world what percentage of their software engineers were women. Surprisingly, it worked. Within a year, Apple, Facebook, Google, and others had all published their lopsided gender numbersand race stats, too. Chou, then an engineer at Pinterest, became a face of the tech diversity movement.
Pinterest branded itself as a company trying hard to hire women, blacks, and Latinos. In 2015 it published a set of ambitious goals, including hiring women for 30 percent of its open engineering jobs. The pinboard site met some goalsincluding that at least 8 percent of new engineering hires be black, Latino, or American Indianbut only 22 percent of engineers hired in 2016 were women. For this year, its lowered the goal to 25 percent.
Obviously, we were all hoping it would be better and closer to 30 percent, says Chou, who co- founded the advocacy group Project Include in May and left Pinterest in June. (She says she wanted to try something new.) Pinterest says it focused on hiring women for more senior positions, which take longer to fill, and that its targets are meant to be challenges. Setting public goals focused and encouraged the team to have more authentic conversations and learn more about how to make meaningful progress, says Candice Morgan, head of diversity.
Pinterest is doing better than most. The typical tech giants diversity numbers have barely budged in the past two years, and some have fallen. At first, many companies tried to make hiring more blindstripping names and pictures from rsums, for example. Some now want to do more than cover their eyes.
Twitter has set specific hiring goals. Facebook is giving recruiters double the credit for diversity hires. Microsoft, whose proportion of women hired keeps falling, is tying manager bonuses to diversity hiring. Even companies such as Penny, a four-man personal-finance company in San Francisco, are trying to account for the value of other perspectives. These businesses embrace affirmative-action hiring, though most are careful not to call it that.
I have quite a few clients saying, We want to take it one step further, or saying, Listen, we did the unconscious bias thing, and we didnt get a lot out of it, says Y-Vonne Hutchinson, a diversity consultant for tech companies and another co-founder of Project Include. While companies studiously avoid words like affirmative action and quotas, she says, Its happening in a way that wasnt happening last year.
Slack, the $3.8 billion workplace chat startup, practices intentional hiring, according to Leslie Miley, its director of engineering. What I want is a level playing field, he says, adding that his criteria can include such factors as whether candidates are veterans, went to community colleges, or were the first in the family to get a degree. Slack has pushed its proportion of women engineers to 24 percent from 18 percent since 2015. Stacy Brown-Philpot, the chief executive officer of TaskRabbit, who is black, said in October her company needs to overindex some groups to fulfill her pledge to make its staff look like America. I dont know if I would say its affirmative action, she quickly added. TaskRabbit is inching toward a staff that, like the U.S., is 13 percent African American.
Hutchinson, a black women whose mother got a federal job partly because of affirmative action, says while shes conscious of clients sensitivity to the term, Silicon Valleys faith in meritocracy hasnt
gotten the job done: Affirmative action gets a lot of blowback, but it was one of the most successful ways of getting people from underrepresented groups into jobs and institutions they were excluded from.
It can be difficult for the white and Asian men who dominate Valley engineering departments to sympathize with concerns about equality of opportunity, Chou acknowledges. But at Pinterest, she says, the pressure to meet public goals made a difference. That internal conversationWere not going to hit this, and its going to look really bad if we dontmade people haul ass and get their s together, she says.
Things havent gone as well at Facebook, where former recruiters say they were told to make diversity a priority in 2015. The numbers remain pretty much flat: 17 percent women in technical jobs, 3 percent Latino, 1 percent black. Two former recruiters, who asked not to be identified because they werent authorized to discuss the work, say they blame the circle of engineering leaders who have veto power over every offer and werent held to the same goals. Facebook says its interviewers take a training course on bias and its working to improve the numbers.
Hiring with an eye to diversity doesnt always yield the best results, say two former employees at GitHub, a site where coders store and share work. They say an internal diversity-focused team created in 2015 sometimes drove hiring managers to focus too much on a candidates background and miss out on the ideal person for the job. GitHub declined to comment.
Still, the best employees arent always the ones who ship code the quickest, says Mitchell Lee, co- founder of Penny, the personal-finance startup. Pennys first four employees were twentysomething dudes with similar ideas about how to script their financial adviser chatbot. So Lee spent the fall looking for a fifth person to broaden the bots sensibility. He rejected the hypothetical of a fifth same- y guy who was equally qualified. Somebody with a diverse background and a totally different perspective is more qualified for the position, he says.
Facing less pressure to be politic than Facebook or Slack, Lee isnt shy about using the words affirmative action. In December, after sifting hundreds of rsums, he hired Vertika Srivastava, an Indian American woman who went to the University of Michigan, developed software at consulting company Accenture, and has little experience with Ruby, Pennys main programming language. At one point during the interview process, Srivastava asked the four guys why they were interested in her. They listed some aspects of her personality, and they were blunt: It was also because shes a woman.
I liked that they didnt tiptoe around that, she says. She started on Jan. 9.
Questions for Discussion
1. What are some of the reasons why engineering departments in Silicon Valley tech firms might be dominated by white and Asian men?
2. Why are some tech companies having a difficult time hiring for diversity and/or reaching their diversity goals?
3. What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of linking manager bonuses to diversity hiring?
Ellen Huet, In the Land of the Blind Hire, Bloomberg Businessweek, January 23January 29, 2017, pp. 2728. Used with permission.