Top 20 Most Diverse Companies in the Bay Area

Which Companies Scored Highest for Diverse Technical Talent in 2021?

15 Mar 2022

We’re living in an exciting time when the world is becoming more interconnected than ever. Enhancements in connectivity technology have facilitated and enabled more highly distributed workforces, creating improved opportunities for companies to hire talent in broader reaching geographies. There’s no turning back; this phenomena we’re experiencing is broadening our awareness of the rest of the world, of different thoughts, perspectives, and cultures that we may not yet have experienced personally.

There’s strength and potential in learning from others who might understand things differently than us when their perspective is based on their own life experiences. When we learn through a diverse lens, our own knowledge and understanding is enhanced with different perspectives allowing a greater ability to relate to other people. We widen our vision, increase our empathy towards others, and embrace the unexpected. Together, we become greater than we can individually, a whole greater than the sum of its parts.  

Another thrilling aspect of our time are businesses that recognize this potential of having a diverse workforce and are passionate about fostering diversity and inclusion in their own workplace. These are the companies that are setting the new standard by shaping the cultures of tomorrow’s businesses. Not only do they recognize the importance of diversity amongst their organization, they see it as mission critical to their business’ success.

We are excited to share our list of the Top 20 companies in the San Francisco Bay Area leading the charge in creating global companies starting with their technical workforce. Some are recognizable leading giants in their markets, while others are incumbents with cutting edge products. Let’s take a deeper dive into what diversity means for these leading organizations, highlight some of their best practices, and celebrate the business achievements that can be gained from having a culturally interconnected organization.

Here's how the top 5 companies stack up in each minority category:

Analysis
In the Bay Area, these companies have the highest relative populations of minorities among the technical roles within their workforce.* And that’s not the only thing that distinguishes their technical employees - every company included in this list is led by a diverse team. When we look at their leadership teams, each company noted in our list includes at least one member that is female or BIPOC. Take these companies, for example:  Accenture, Nextdoor, Bill.com, Twitch, Zynga, and CPO; all of these companies have at least one female C-level executive.

These market leaders have made a clear commitment to prioritizing DEI hiring as part of their company’s strategy. Similarly to how success breeds success, diversity breeds more diversity. That is to say that these companies climbed to the top of our list by hiring candidates who are attracted to the diversity of their existing workforce. When more employees of various demographics are attracted to working at these organizations, these companies broaden their pool of potential hiring candidates. Moreover, not only do candidates find diverse organizations attractive, they regard them aspirationally when they see that their employees of diverse backgrounds hold leadership roles, strengthening these companies’ brand value.

Slack: A Notable Leader in Diversity
Let’s take a closer look at Slack, a notable leader in diversity that topped the charts of our data for its inclusion of Hispanic, Black, and female technical talent in its workforce.

Our data confirms that an impressive 40% of Slack’s leadership teams have at least one member who was female or BIPOC. Excelling in building diverse teams doesn’t just happen overnight; Slack’s intentions to foster diversity and inclusion date all the way back to its launch in 2014 where it called out diversity as one of its core values. Since then, the company has been recognized on multiple accounts for its initiatives to embed programmatic approaches throughout their organization to foster a diverse and inclusive work environment.

To start, Slack reinvented its hiring practices to “proactively seek out candidates from outside traditional programmer pipelines” and mitigate biases associated with the traditional interview process for technical roles. Recruiting through all-women coding camps, for example, introduced the company to candidates that would diversify teams traditionally known among the industry to be full of white male software engineers. What’s more, since 2014 the company has teamed up with a Bay Area nonprofit, Code2040 to offer programs that focus on training Black and Latinx programmers. And that’s not all in order to make the interview process more accessible to candidates from underrepresented groups, Slack refined the wording of its job descriptions to appeal to a wider range of audiences. During the interviewing process, they incorporated the use of situational interview questions that hone in on desired characteristics and skills for a successful candidate (such as communication skills or the capacity for teamwork) as opposed to relying solely on in-person technical interviews that could result in selection bias.

The reformation of Slack’s hiring practices influences candidates of diverse backgrounds to come work for the company, but what makes them stay? The company’s programmatic DEI approach extends well beyond its hiring practices and has also established other programs that focus on employee inclusion, promoting respect and support for diverse talent. Not only does it have its Diversity, Engagement, and Belonging (DEB) program devoted to all diversity initiatives, but diversity is also a key consideration in other programs such as its employee resource groups and the Rising Tides sponsorship program. Slack even partners with the Next Chapter and The Last Mile programs to offer apprenticeship programs and hiring opportunities into the company for formerly incarcerated individuals. Together, these programs help Slack demonstrate its compassion and consideration for not just its employees, but society as a whole.

Image Courtesy of: Austin on Unsplash

An Optimistic Outlook (And Practical Advice) For The Diversity Of Business
After taking a closer look at these companies leading the DEI push, we see that organizations can look forward to a variety of business outcomes promoted by diversity initiatives done right. Marketing programs that highlight the efforts a company undertakes to make its organization inclusive to a diverse community of employees helps to demonstrate the compassion the company has for its employees bolsters the company’s brand value. When potential employees learn how the company executes on including and valuing everyone’s ideas, it becomes a more desirable place to work, thereby also opening up the company to more hiring opportunities and access to a wider set of candidates. Employee satisfaction also benefits from DEI efforts because employees are able to observe tangible ways their company tries to include and value their ideas. In fact, our recent analysis of Glassdoor data found that overall our list of Top 20 most diverse companies (with respect to technical roles) in the Bay Area have higher employee satisfaction rates compared to all other companies globally by 10 percentile points. We can expect that organizations that score high in employee satisfaction will experience less employee turnover, which should result in better business operations than companies with high employee turnover that have to continuously train new employees.

We can also suggest that having a diverse workforce enhances customer value by enabling businesses to build products and services that cater to a more diverse and wider set of potential customers. Organizations that foster the inclusion and value of everyone’s ideas in their workforce promote workforce cultures that prioritize compassion and respect for one another within the organization. When employees are more conscientious of each other's differences, they have the potential to create offerings that can be considerate of the differences among their targeted users.

The value of having a diverse workforce to build products inclusive to its users can also be seen anecdotally by the companies we’ve called out in our Top 20 list. Overall, the majority of these diverse companies either belong to a service industry, build media/communications platform product offerings, and/or rely on emerging network technologies such as the Cloud. It becomes more apparent that these companies lead the pack in diverse technical talent because diversity is a consideration for these companies since either their product, industry or business operations rely on relatively cutting edge network technologies that promote connectivity. Conversely, our analysis suggests that there is more work to be done for companies in other industries to realize the business benefits of promoting diversity and inclusion within their organization.  

So, what best practices have we learned from our list of diversity leaders to help other companies promote diversity and inclusion? To start, we see that it’s important for companies to integrate diversity into its marketing efforts; every company in our Top 20 list had a web page or campaign dedicated to the topic of diversity. Additionally, according to Slack, the company saw success in its diversity initiatives when diversity became something in which every employee could be involved. It’s also apparent that having a team dedicated to diversity is not necessarily a leading indicator of having a successfully diverse workforce. These teams run the risk of being siloed. Rather, a multi-layered programmatic approach that embeds diversity efforts across the organization is the most effective strategy.

* Our methodology:
To come up with the list of Top 20 most diverse companies, Terrain Analytics leveraged its data to create rankings of companies based on the proportions of their technical talent located in the San Francisco Bay Area that are composed of historically underrepresented groups, specifically Black, Hispanic, and female employees. Technical roles considered for this analysis include software engineers, electrical/mechanical engineers, and researchers. Rankings for the top companies with Black, Hispanic, and female technical talent were each weighted equally against each group category in order to calculate the overall list of Top 20 most diverse companies.

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