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Why so many companies’ diversity numbers fall flat

In 2014, tech heavyweights finally caved to pressure and started releasing data on their workforces, confirming what many people in the industry already knew to be true: Companies such as Google and Facebook were overwhelmingly white and male. The tech industry has issued updated diversity reports nearly every year since, along with waves of mea culpas pledging to do better.

But with the exception of standouts such as Intel—which invested $300 million into diversifying its ranks and reached its initial goals by 2018—few companies have made good on that promise. (Even Intel has only reached what it calls “full representation,” which means its demographics now reflect the available talent pool of women and underrepresented groups in the U.S.)

The likes of Apple, Facebook, and Google have hired more women, but they still represent less than a quarter of each company’s technical workforce. While their share of Black and Latinx employees has increased marginally, much of that progress can be traced to nontechnical roles.

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