CHAIR YANG: Good afternoon, everyone. The meeting will now come to order. Thank you all for being here. In accordance with the Sunshine Act, today's meeting is open to public observation of the Commission's deliberations and voting. So at this time I'm going to ask Bernadette Wilson to announce any notation votes that have taken place since the last Commission meeting, Ms Wilson?
MS. WILSON: Good afternoon, and before I begin, is there anyone in need of sign language interpreter services? Okay, thank you.
Good afternoon again, Madam Chair, Commissioners, General Counsel, Assistant Legal Counsel. I'm Bernadette Wilson from the Executive Secretariat.
We'd like to remind our audience that questions and comments from the audience are not permitted during the meeting and we ask that you carry on any conversations outside the meeting room, departing and re-entering as quietly as possible. Also, please take this opportunity to turn your cell phones off, or to vibrate mode.
I would also like to remind the audience that in case of emergency, there are exit doors to the right and left as you exit this room. Additionally, the restrooms are down the hall to the right and left of the elevators.
During the period June 27, 2015 through May 13, 2016, the Commission acted on 80 items by notation vote:
Approved litigation on fifteen (15) cases;
Approved Amicus Participation in seven (7) cases;
Approved seventeen (17) Subpoena Determinations;
Approved three (3) Enforcement Guidances on
Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues; Federal Sector Denial of Reconsideration Decisions; and Retaliation and Related Issues;
Approved Final ADA and GINA Wellness Rules and their Revisions;
Approved an Addendum to Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor Memorandum of Understanding;
Approved a Final Rule Adjusting the Penalty for Violation of Notice Posting Requirements;
Approved Correcting Amendment to ADEA Apprenticeship Regulation;
Approved the Paperwork Reduction Act Notice;
Approved Notices of Proposed Rulemaking Amending Regulations under GINA; GINA and Employer Wellness Programs; and Revisions to Regulations under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as Amended, Requiring the Federal Government to Engage in Affirmative Action for Individuals with Disabilities;
Approved Regulatory Agendas for the Fall of 2015 and Spring of 2016 and its Amendment;
Approved two (2) Federal Decisions;
Approved the following contracts: OIT 4th Quarter 2015 and Second Quarter 2016 Acquisitions; the email Subscription Management System; the 2016-2018 EXCEL Conferences; Library Technical Services Support; an Interagency Agreement with Federal Occupational Health on a Time-and-Material Basis for Headquarters' Health Unit Services; Sign Language and Captioning for Persons who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing; and Access to an Online Social Science Research Database;
Approved Resolutions Honoring Carolyn L. Wheeler; Denise Anderson; Lillie Wilson; Cheryl Few; Thomas Mecherikunnel; John Matics; Ozzie L. Black; Robert K. Dawkins; Thelma E. Pyles; and Valerie Prue on their Retirement;
Approved the Federal Sector Circulation List Resolution;
Approved Management Directive 110;
Approved the Quality Control Plan;
Approved a Research and Data Plan;
Approved FY 2016 State and Local Budget Allocations; and,
Approved a Resolution to Dedicate the EEOC Training Center to Jacqueline A. Berrien.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you, Ms. Wilson. As you can see, we have been busy since our last Commission meeting. I want to thank everyone for joining us today for this Commission Meeting: Innovation Opportunity, Examining Strategies to Promote Diverse and Inclusive Workplaces in The Tech Industry.
The high-tech sector has been a major source of economic growth that is fueling the U.S. economy, yet diversity and inclusion in the tech industry has in many ways gotten worse according to a number of our witnesses today.
The high-tech sector has been an innovation leader transforming how we live our lives and driving solutions to some of our greatest societal challenges; and as we look ahead to the workforce of tomorrow one thing is undeniable, technology and the tech sector will play an increasing role in how we work and in our national and global economies.
Today, we will hear from some of those leading the way to ensure that the talents of all Americans are fully utilized in the technology sector. That includes making a concerted effort to ensure that women, people of color, older workers and people with disabilities all have opportunities to contribute to the advances in technology.
Today, the EEOC is pleased to release a report on diversity in the tech industry, looking at employment trends nationally and in Silicon Valley. This report seeks to shed light on employment patterns in the high-tech industry by analyzing data from our EEO-1 reports provided in 2012, 2014, excuse me. Ron Edwards, the Director of EEOC's Program Research and Surveys Division, will share some of the highlights from this report which will be available later today on EEOC's website.
A decade ago the EEOC prepared a report analyzing EEO-1 data on diversity in the financial industry. We looked at its role in creating good jobs and strong growth potential. Similarly, today, the tech industry has experienced rapid growth and is a driving force in the global economy.
Indeed, the tech industry has a need for talent with technology skills to fill this increasing demand. These jobs tend to pay at a higher rate with better benefits and they have strong potential for growth. The tech industry already employs a quarter of all professionals across our workforce and nearly six percent of the total labor force. The tech industry has also spurred rapid innovation. It has allowed us to accomplish things that at one point we thought were impossible.
At today's meeting, we will explore ways to harness the data, the analytics and the creativity from within the tech sector and apply it to this question: how can we promote full access and opportunity for all who aspire to work in tech? Many of the nation's leading technology companies have taken a step of publicly releasing their demographic data, and the public has seen a snapshot of some of the disparities that exist. Our broader analysis of EEO-1 data from thousands of tech firms confirms that significant gaps remain.
We will hear today about critical efforts to ensure a broader cross section of Americans are going into STEM fields. At the same time, the data suggest that the current talent pool is also under-utilized. For example, although nine percent of graduates from top computer science and engineering programs are African-American and Latino, their representation in tech jobs at leading firms is often around four percent.
We are mindful that the tech sector encompasses a vast range of businesses, including large established companies that have been around for decades as well as emerging new firms that are taking shape now as we speak in somebody's garage or kitchen table. Yet regardless of size, all tech firms benefit from ensuring that there are not barriers to opportunity so that way they can harness the best ideas and talent.
Expanding diversity and inclusion is critical to unlocking the full potential of tomorrow's economy. Standing still is not an option. Making progress and expanding opportunity in the high-tech industry is critical to strengthening our economy and reducing inequality in our communities.
We are eager to hear about the promising practices and recommendations today's panel will share with us. We look forward to engaging in a productive discussion about proactive steps that will move us closer to achieving the full promise of the tech sector.
In addition to all of today's witnesses, I'd like to thank a number of EEOC staff including Peach Soltis in my office, Linda Li in our San Francisco office, our Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs, and Ron Edwards, Kelly Trindel, Renee Toback, Qi Wang and Lisa Torres in ORIP for their work on today's report.
I would now like to invite my fellow Commissioners to make any opening statements or comments beginning with Commissioner Barker.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Thank you, Chair Yang. I look forward to hearing the testimony and appreciate all the participants taking the time to develop the testimony and being willing to appear today. I'll limit my remarks to one particular portion of the area we're going to be talking about today, the high-tech area, and that is startups.
As many of you know that I'm working with the Small Business Task Force to identify ways that the EEOC can come more in the 21st century as far as how we provide information to small businesses all in their obligations under the Federal Employment Discrimination laws and so on the task force we are looking particularly at high-tech because these are companies that are quickly starting out and although success rate is -- well, let me say the percentage of companies that start up but succeed in continuing over the years is not high. It's a very risky and very challenging and very brave thing for anyone to do to start up a new company. At the same point, we hope that those companies, all of them will succeed, and we hope that they will very quickly reach the 15 employee Title VII threshold.
So from our viewpoint, what we are doing is trying to see what it is that we can do to effectively get information to that small group of people who are starting a company in their basement or garage in the hope that soon they will need to know not only what their obligations are, but what their aspirations should be as far as full diversity.
So we know we have made changes to the website. We've introduced, we are in the process of introducing YouTubes. We are looking at the possibility of an app because, as we all know, people in the high-tech industry, people who start up business in the high-tech industry, are not going to stop their busy day and go attend one of our seminars. That's not how they receive information, you know, in that field. And so I'm very much interested today in listening to people talk about, you know, how it is that we can reach these, you know, starting small high-tech businesses before they become the giant successful businesses and, you know, before diversity is really something they should focus on. How do we get their attention and make that a priority for them?
Thank you very much.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. Commissioner Feldblum.
I want to thank Chair Yang for -- and her staff and the other staff she noted for putting together this meeting so we could have this focus but, in particular, thank both Chair Yang and General Counsel Lopez who went out of the Beltway to go to California and meet with folks who are in this world, and I think it makes it clear that this meeting is one of a series of efforts like starting before in terms of talking to folks, having the meeting, and then having a plan for going forward.
I think it's very clear that the tech industry is obviously a huge part of our economy, including the growth in our economy, and I think this meeting can be helpful in terms of making that visible about how important the industry is. And I think the written testimony you gave, you've put in, show that and I think it's great that it'll be available on our website.
I do think that the ideas that, or the thoughts that people had, on how to fix the problem of the under-representation, both in terms of simply being hired, but then as importantly being promoted, is sobering. I mean, whether it's in terms of issues around the pipeline, the divergence in terms of gender, both desire, expectation, confidence, that's sobering, and it's not something that just an enforcement agency can make an impact on.
I was glad to see that in terms of African-Americans, Hispanics, minorities there, there's the interest, confidence, et cetera. So of course that brings us to the second part of the problem, which is, even once you get hired, how do you create an atmosphere of inclusion that'll then lead to promotion? And there I want to say at least from what I read I don't think that's unique, either those problems or the potential solutions to the tech industry and the harassment, study of harassment in the workplace taskforce that Commissioner Lipnic and I have been working on for the past year and a half, some of the creative ideas we are coming up with in that report, I think will be transferable.
The last thing I would just note is, may not have escaped people's attention or maybe it did, there's no data about the under-representation of people with disabilities in the tech industry, which I think we can probably assume that there is under-representation. But again, as many of you may know, the EEO-1 reports are a hugely important data source for the demographics of industries and we do not ask for data on disability in that report.
I think we've already made some huge steps in the Federal government in figuring out how to do that self-reporting. So it's something especially the EEOC has done in terms of working on an applicant flow form that depends on self-reporting of people with disabilities. There is a reporting form for folks who onboard to the Federal government with regard to disability, and I hope this is something that we can work on going forward.
So thank you for your attendance and I look forward to our discussion.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. Commissioner Lipnic.
I first want to say that I do appreciate when we have meetings like this and we take a step back and ask as a commission where are we headed in the world of work, similar to a meeting we did a couple of years ago about social media. And certainly the growth and the increasing influence of the tech industry and what it means for the future of work and the American workforce, are definitely worth our attention.
So again I thank the Chair and General Counsel Lopez for their efforts in this area and for putting this meeting together today.
I want to quickly share a couple of my thoughts on today's topic. While the unemployment rate continues to hover around five percent, the labor force participation rate, adults who are working or actively looking for work, has been hovering in the 62 percent to 63 percent range for a few years now. Last September it was 62.4 percent, which is the lowest level it has been in 40 years.
The decline would seem to be explained at least in part by demographics, more Baby Boomers retiring; but another part of it appears to be the continued difficulty and reluctance of some people to get back into the job hunt and that is particularly true for older workers who tend to spend longer periods out of work looking for a job that ultimately pays less than they're used to making.
So I will be very much interested in our discussion around the prospects for older workers in the tech industry among the things we will talk about today. And as one example, I note that Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, is 55-years-old and he seems to have no problems in the tech industry, so I hope that that can flow down to others of a similar age.
Of similar concern are the prospects for women and certain minorities to gain a foothold in the industry. As we all now know, women are receiving the majority of college degrees and recently for the first time, women as a whole are more likely to have a degree than men. Of course, it's a different story in the computer sciences and technology world. Why that is and what if anything can be done about it are important questions that I hope we will get into.
I will say I did see in the paper this morning that eighth grade girls outperformed boys on an inaugural nationwide test of technology proficiency, and of course the fact that I read it in a newspaper probably says something about my technology proficiency.
Finally, I'll be curious what our witnesses have to say about women's prospects for sustained careers and advancement in the industry. I was struck by a recent study that found that women are 45 percent more likely to leave a high-tech job within a year, and there was a study of women in engineering about a year ago that talked about the difficulties women have in staying in the engineering profession, not even entering it, but staying in it. I'll be interested to hear why that is.
As Commissioner Feldblum and I have heard over and over again during our work this past year on the Commission's task force on workplace harassment, if you want to create an environment where everyone works together and succeeds, to tweak an old phrase, it's the culture stupid. Although maybe I should be a little more civil in how I say that. Nevertheless, I'm interested to know what it is about the tech industry that would appear to be making it more difficult for women to achieve widespread stability and success, and if anyone here is a fan of HBO's Silicon Valley show, as I am, you might know where I'm going with this.
These are important issues, not the least of which because if more women and minorities are not finding their way into high paying tech jobs for the long term, that will only continue to exacerbate the pay gap.
So again, I welcome our witnesses. Thank you again for your time and I look forward to your testimony and our discussion today. Thank you Madam Chair.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: Good morning. I'd like to join in welcoming our witnesses and state my appreciation for the time that I know you've put into this and for your being here today.
I am joined with my other Commissioners in saying that it is extremely important that we're taking a look at the fact the tech industry is one of the largest growing areas in employment, providing both a large number of jobs and tremendous potential for promising careers, certainly on the cutting edge of a number of advances and, you know, some true and important innovation for our economy. However, the data suggest that many tech companies are not on the cutting edge, but rather lag behind when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Research shows that African-Americans, Latinos, women of all races and older workers, are underrepresented in the tech industry in positions from technicians to executives and the disparities are even greater among the more senior positions in the companies. Data suggest however, that these disparities are not fully explained by a pipeline issue, by graduation rates.
For example, according to the American Community Survey data, among computer science and engineering graduates with a bachelors or advanced degrees, 57 percent are white, 26 percent are Asian, eight percent are Latino and six percent are African-Americans; yet tech workers at several of the industry's leading employers, according to their own publicly available data, and I'm talking about some of the biggest employers that are household names, indicate that only about three percent of their workers are Latino, and one percent African-American.
About half of graduates in so-called STEM fields, science, technology, engineering and math are women, yet women occupy disproportionately low number of STEM related positions in the workforce.
And, as Mr. Edwards testimony also says -- I'm very interested to see this -- even when you look at all the 75 top firms in Silicon Valley; while there're slightly better numbers, they are still disproportionately low and in line with those low numbers from the big tech companies that have been releasing their own data. And even those women and persons of colors who are hired by tech companies tend to leave before they reach upper level positions.
For example, the tech giant, Facebook, released a public report last year analyzing its own progress on diversity among its workers and reported that, in its global workforce, 68 percent of employees are men, 73 percent of its overall senior leadership are men, and retention and representation in management is also clearly a problem.
So research among job groups in the tech industry shows a pattern that representation of women and workers of color decreases as they move through the ranks from the technician positions to executives. Women and minorities may be discouraged from continuing tech careers because of, in some instances, there have been reports of isolation, even harassment and other pressures.
The study of women in STEM positions found that 63 percent experienced sexual harassment at work, 40 percent felt stalled or stuck in their careers, and many women lacked a mentor or sponsor in their jobs that they felt they could turn to for professional guidance.
Other articles document examples of minorities working in STEM positions who report unwelcoming atmospheres at work, including veiled comments directed at race and being unfairly passed over for promotions for which they were qualified.
Because the disparities in the workforce can't be fully explained by the number of available candidates, I think it's very appropriate that we start to look deeply in a thoughtful way at what kinds of issues there may be, at cultural issues and practices.
Fortunately, many tech firms are taking proactive steps to increase and promote diversity in the workplace and that should be applauded. That's good news all around because studies show that increasing diversity can increase firm creativity, profitability and of course that helps businesses, consumers and the economy. The U.S., of course, is becoming increasingly diverse, and by 2043, we'll be a majority minority country. Several of our biggest cities including New York, Miami, Los Angeles, as well as many states, California being one them, Texas, New Mexico and Hawaii are already majority minority and it is important that those consumers -- and I think there's a money making opportunity here for the tech companies -- reflect and have, companies that are responsive to what their needs are and understand what those consumer markets are about. So this can I think very much be win-win all the way around.
So I look forward to our conversation today and very much appreciate your time. Thank you very much. I yield back.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you Commissioner Burrows. And Commissioner Burrows started out with a good morning because we are actually broadcasting this to our San Francisco office where it is morning and we've invited members of the public to join us.
We do live stream this to our EEOC offices and we do have one witness, Erin Connell, a partner at the San Francisco office of Orrick who will be joining us by video teleconference.
And now I would like to introduce our distinguished panel of experts today.
I would like to just give you a brief background and their full bios are available on our website along with their written testimony. So it is my pleasure to first introduce Ron Edwards, the Director of Program Research and Surveys Division in our Office of Research Information and Planning here at our EEOC Headquarters. He and his team perform the research and analysis that we are releasing today in our report on diversity in the tech sector.
Benjamin Jealous is a partner at Kapor Capital, an Oakland-based venture capital firm. Mr. Jealous was previously the President and CEO of the NAACP.
Kweilin Ellingrud is a partner at McKinsey and Company and leads their Minneapolis office. She is the author of Power of Parity: Advancing Women's Equality in the United States.
Erin Connell is a Partner at the San Francisco office of Orrick and is a member of their employment law group, which was recently named Labor and Employment Law department of the year in California.
Laurie McCann is the Senior Attorney with AARP foundation litigation. She is responsible for litigating and amicus participation for AARP on a range of age discrimination and other employment issues.
And Camilla Velasquez is Head of Product and Marketing at JustWorks where she leads the marketing, product and design teams. And she previously worked at Etsy.
So today we will start with one panel and then we will open up the floor for questions and comments from the Commission and, although our panelist will have a limited amount of time to present today, your complete written testimony will be available on our website, www.eeoc.gov, and placed in the meeting record.
So please note that we're using timing lights in the center of the console in front of me. The yellow light will appear when you have one minute remaining for your statement and the red light will appear when your time expires. Then we'll have the Commission's questions and comments after you've completed your opening statements and again we thank you for all the time that you've put into preparing your testimony and coming here today. And we'll begin with Ron Edwards.
Because the tech industry is a fast-growing field and technology plays such an important role in our, in the way we work and communicate, our report seeks to identify potentially important employment trends.
Over the past several years, a number of leading tech firms have chosen to publicly release their EEO-1 reports as part of the national dialogue about diversity and inclusion. Our office is responsible for collecting the EEO-1 report from employers, and we are always pleased to see the information utilized by employers and especially those in the high-tech firms.
Indeed, the collection of the EEO-1 data over the past 50 years has produced rich databases and extensive use in a vast collection of research.
Today, with the release of this report we hope to shed a bit more light on employment patterns in the high-tech industry. One challenge in conducting this research is that the terms, high-tech and Silicon Valley, while popular in our vernacular, are not really official definitions. The report generally defines high-tech industries as those with a high concentration of technology jobs and, with respect to the Silicon Valley, uses a few alternative official labor market areas to replicate those likely to be used by the firms. Keep in mind that the EEO-1 is collected annually from employers with 100 or more employees and from Federal contractors with 50 or more employees with Federal contracts of $50,000 or more.
The data collects information in a matrix of demographic groups based on gender, race and ethnicity and 10 job groups. The EEO-l data is a snapshot of an employer's workforce during one payroll period, and the EEO-1 data presented here comes from thousands of high-tech firms, small and large. Three different approaches are used in our research report.
The first is a brief literature review. The second examines high-tech firms nationally and with two labor market areas associated with the Silicon Valley, and those are specifically the San Francisco, Oakland and Fremont metropolitan area and Santa Clara County. The third approach focuses on the Silicon Valley and firms identified as the top 75 firms in high-tech in Silicon Valley.
Thus, our report drills into useful data to show what the workforce of the high-tech industry looks like both in a national and local scale. The local view is the Silicon Valley and the surrounding areas. The report relies on descriptive statistics in order to provide insight into the nature of the industry and not to explain the why and how of how current employment patterns exist. At this stage we simply attempt to identify disparities rather than account for factors that may cause these disparities or explain these disparities.
We find that the high-tech industry displays overall disparities in the employment of women, African-Americans and Hispanics when compared to all industries nationwide. The distribution of workers among job groups in the high-tech industry nationwide suggests a pattern where women and non-white employment decreases as job group increases from technicians up to executives. For example, whites make up 83.3 percent of executives in high-tech firms nationwide. African-Americans make up 9.01 percent of high-tech technicians but just 1.92 percent of executives.
Similarly, Asian-Americans make up 19.49 percent of professionals, but about half that figure, 10.5 percent, of executives. Women display a similar pattern making up 31.89 percent of professionals and 20.4 percent of executives. This pattern suggests that there may be barriers to advancement for some groups.
Santa Clara County, where many of the high-tech firms are located or headquartered, has demographic patterns that differ from the broader private workforce and differ from the nearby metropolitan area of San Francisco, Oakland and Fremont.
Asian-Americans make up 32 percent of the workforce in the San Francisco metropolitan area but 45.6 percent in Santa Clara County; while white workers make up 54 percent in the San Francisco metro area but 44.1 percent in Santa Clara County. For African-American workers, it's 3.4 percent versus 2 percent, for Hispanic workers it's 6.7 percent versus 5.9 percent; for women it's 28.9 percent versus 36.7 percent.
Compared to all industries in the U.S. private sector, high-tech firms had a relatively large share of whites, 68.5 percent versus 63.5 percent. Asian-Americans is 14 percent in the private sector versus 5.8 percent. African-Americans, 7.4 percent versus 14.4 percent and Hispanics 8.38 percent versus 13.9 percent. So Hispanics and African-Americans had lower representation in high-tech industries by a substantial margin compared to all private industries.
For women, there was an over 12 percent point difference with a smaller share of women, 35.7 percent in high-tech compared to 48.2 percent in all industries.
Within high-tech industries nationwide, white employees were over two-thirds of the professionals. Asian-Americans were nearly one-fifth. African-American and Hispanic employees were just over five percent of professionals. In terms of high-tech technicians, African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans were each represented about nine to 10 percent, while whites made up 68.58 percent.
In Section three of the report, we examine the top 75 high-tech firms in the Silicon Valley area based on a ranking by the San Jose Mercury News that looked at revenue, profitability and other criteria. Women comprised only 30 percent of employees in these firms. Asian-Americans are 41 percent of employees, while African-Americans and Hispanic workers are three and six percent respectively.
This is in contrast to high-tech firms in the area where employment of women and men is equal with 49 percent and 51 percent. Further, whites make up less than half of employment at 41 percent. Asian-Americans comprise 24 percent, Hispanics 22 percent and African-Americans eight percent.
The striking characteristics of these 75 Silicon Valley high-tech firms is the contrast between professional and management jobs. In this instance, executive and management jobs from the EEO-1 reports are combined. So this creates sort of a measure of entry into management positions.
Asian-Americans make up 50 percent of professional jobs among these firms, yet only 36 percent of combined management positions. This is roughly a negative gap of 14 percentage points. White employees make up 41 percent of professional jobs and 57 percent of combined management jobs. This is roughly a positive difference of about 16 percent.
Our data analysis support many of the popular literature and academic literature in this area. I hope the findings I presented today and those in the report will help advance the conversation on these issues and that we have identified important issues for future research.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you, Mr. Edwards. Mr. Jealous?
MR. JEALOUS: Thank you. Good afternoon. I guess good morning as well. It is -- I must just, you know, it was a bit of sad news to be standing here or sitting here in the Jackie Berrien Conference Room. She was a dear friend, too soon.
As it has been said this morning many times and what when repeated the specifics, we have a glaring problem in the Silicon market. Women, people of color, especially Blacks, Latinos, Native people, many Asian-American ethnic groups all excluded in very significant ways.
What's more, is that the problem has gotten worse since the kind of PC heyday of the 1980s, and my partners, Mitch and Freada Kapor Klein, respectively founded Lotus and led many of its HR functions. They would tell you that tech is much less inclusive today than it was then.
In response, we at Kapor Capital have established a venture capital firm that is unusually inclusive. Our partners are three-quarters black or female. Our investment table is more than three-quarters Black, Latino, female. Our portfolio companies, more than 60 percent of the companies have black, Latino or female founders.
Suffice it to say, we are an unusual company in the Silicon Valley venture community. When you look at who works in our industry, the gender and racial diversity at venture capital firms is worse than the tech industry as a whole.
The examination of 71 firms managing more than $160 billion in assets revealed that roughly 92 percent of venture capitalists are men, eight percent are female, 78 percent are white, Blacks and Latinos represent just one percent of all venture capitalists.
This pattern continues in who receives investment. In an analysis of VC-backed companies, 87 percent of founders were white, less than 1 percent were black. Founding teams, 83 percent of the VC-backed startup companies had an all-white founding team, with just 11 percent of companies having founders across multiple racial groups.
CHAIR YANG: Mr. Jealous, can I ask you to double check your microphone. We got a message that --
MR. JEALOUS: Sure. Oh, great. That's better. Isn't it? Wow.
CHAIR YANG: All right. Thank you.
MR. JEALOUS: Ninety-two percent of founders of VC-backed companies are male. Three key practices within venture capital ensure the disparities in venture capital and the startup/tech landscape are perpetuated, and the pool of diverse entrepreneurs who are backed by venture companies remains disproportionately small.
The first is a controversial practice called pattern-matching. We invest in people who look like people we've invested in before. In this way, somewhat ironically, the past governs the future in the Silicon Valley.
The second is simply university preference. We have, I believe, around 2000 undergraduate institutions in our country, maybe more. There's about 10 that most folks who are backed by VC-money and that most VC's come from. It does not just exclude -- it really enforces exclusion based on race, but it also enforces multiple other forms of social exclusion in our industry.
We at Kapor Capital, I would say, believe that genius is constant in every zip code in this country. And when you're only recruiting from 10 schools or maybe 20, you are excluding a lot of the country.
What is more, you know, all these schools require near perfect SAT scores, and research reveals that what correlates most highly with that, is how much money your family has. The other thing is where have you worked before? This is especially concerning for an industry that's really about invention. Inventors, entrepreneurs and my partner, Mitch Kapor, would say, scratch their own itch. And if folks tend to come from a relatively homogenous, small set of institutions, tend to be of one race, tend to be of one gender, well, there's a lot of itches that don't get scratched and quite frankly, in that, a lot of businesses that are quite scalable and can make real money. We at Kapor Capital have invested in companies founded by former inmates, founded by former janitors that are doing quite well.
It's through these practices, pattern-matching, university preference, industry preference, that venture capital firms play a role in making worse the existing disparities in entrepreneurship and creating a cycle of wealth creation and high paying employment opportunities that systematically excludes women and people of color.
However, it's important to keep in mind that venture capitalists are further upstream than the major tech employers and startup companies and that they and startups have maximum leverage and opportunity to accelerate change across the ecosystem. How can tech companies and startups lead change?
Given the role of Silicon Valley's marquee tech companies and startups as the industry's ultimate gatekeepers; the cause of increasing representation through recruitment, hiring, promotion and retention in Silicon Valley is extremely urgent.
We believe that for these reasons, it's incredibly important for tech companies and startups to lead efforts to diversify their own tech community, starting with increasing diversity and inclusion within their own companies.
I've submitted to you 10 things they can do, but a few of the most important. Remove names and schools from resumes. Make sure that we are hiring just simply based on people's qualifications. Use the so-called Rooney rule: Make sure that people of color, especially underrepresented groups are included before a hiring decision is made. Double the bonuses for employee referrals of underrepresented candidates from underrepresented groups, partner with HBCUs and Hispanic-serving institutions to set up internship programs that actually lead to jobs. And quite frankly, use technology. One of the things that we've begun to do at Kapor Capital is actually to invest in startups that help fix this problem, startups that, you know, and I'll just kind of close on this, that help companies do as the boss in the orchestra did.
The boss in Symphony Orchestra -- for a long time, all of their musicians tended to look the same, and then one day they just hung a curtain and said we'll hire the person who sounds the best. And they began to hire more women, more people of color, more people who were very tall or very short or very heavy or very skinny. And so in that way, we believe that tech can be part of the solution to tech's problem of social exclusion. Thank you.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you, Mr. Jealous. Ms. Ellingrud?
MS. ELLINGRUD: Good afternoon, and thank you for the invitation to join you today. I'm Kweilin Ellingrud, a Partner with McKinsey & Company and co-author of our Power of Parity work on gender equality. McKinsey is a global management consulting firm, and over the last decade, we've invested heavily in the topic of gender equality.
Most recently, we formed a partnership with Lean In, partnered with Facebook on TechPrep, and published an article on what it will take to make the tech industry more diverse in the Harvard Business Review. My remarks today will build upon the insights from that work.
Given the EEOC's current examination of the technology industry, I will focus my remarks today on three key areas: first, the technology talent shortage and the current state by gender and race; second, the drivers of that gap; and third, potential solutions.
So what is the technology talent shortage? The fastest growing job categories are computer job categories in the U.S., and the job growth rate of engineering and computer science jobs is twice the national average.
While that's an exciting story, there's an impending labor crisis. By 2020, there will be 1.4 million computing jobs but only 400,000 skilled workers to be able to fill that. That leaves us a gap of 1 million jobs that will either go unfilled or filled with foreign workers if the current trends continue.
Women and minorities are not currently well represented, as we've talked about today, which is part of the problem today but potentially a big part of the solution tomorrow. So how are women and minorities doing today in technology?
The gender gap in technology is getting bigger, not smaller. In fact, women earning computer science bachelor's degrees are fewer today than they were 30 years ago. Women earned 37 percent of computer science degrees in 1984 and only 18 percent of them today. That's roughly half the rate as we were at 30 years ago.
Given the gender and racial gaps in terms of who is earning degrees, it's no surprise that there's a lack of diversity throughout the technology talent pipeline. Based on a 2015 Women in the Workplace survey of large U.S. companies conducted by Lean In and McKinsey, the technology sector has about 37 percent of entry-level roles held by women.
Female representation drops to about 20 to 25 percent in the mid-level management ranks and then all the way down to 15 percent in the C-suite, so CEO and CEO minus one. In addition, 38 percent of women in technology feel that their gender will make it difficult for them to advance in the future. This percentage was the highest among all of the sectors that we surveyed. So in summary, we have a low diversity and inclusion in the tech sector, and it is a more stark situation than in most other industries.
So what are the drivers of that gap? There is a gap at two levels, both within the talent pipeline in terms of conscious and unconscious bias, but also before the talent pipeline even begins in terms of the education to employment pipeline.
In terms of conscious and unconscious bias in the workplace, we see, as we've discussed earlier, technology companies starting to publish their gender diversity metrics in an effort to improve their performance. We also see some technology companies starting to implement blind resume screening and others using advanced analytics to assess unconscious bias across their people processes.
Yet others are setting ambitious targets for women and minorities in leadership roles, tracking progress and driving accountability across every business unit and function. Some companies beyond technology have gone so far as to put 15 percent of senior leadership compensation and tie that to diversity targets.
In the category of conscious bias, #Gamergate happened as recently as 2014 where sexism, online harassment, and threats of rape and murder were made against a couple of women in the gaming industry. So that's the conscious and unconscious bias situation in the workplace.
What happens before the workplace begins in terms of the education to employment pipeline? I'll share with you some highlights based on 2,400 interviews that we did with students, parents, recent college graduates and employees working in computer-science related industries, where the issue is particularly stark. McKinsey did these interviews in partnership with Facebook to launch the TechPrep program. The gaps are around awareness, willingness to try, access, confidence and perception. And those gaps differ by race and by gender.
Awareness is a big barrier for Blacks and Hispanics, but willingness to try is the biggest barrier for women when it comes to computer science. Although 91 percent of girls are aware of computer science, only 44 percent of them are willing to try it.
In terms of access, three-quarters of U.S. public high schools do not offer computer science, and this leads to far less access for Black and Hispanic students than others. White and Asian learners, for instance, are 1.3 to 2 times more likely to go to a school where there is a robotics club offered versus Blacks and Hispanics.
Confidence, there is a confidence gap and a significant one for women of all races, roughly a 30 percent confidence gap for women. This is not an issue for Black and Hispanic men once they are aware and actually try computer science, and it is notable that that confidence gap is greater for women versus men in computer science versus other topics.
Perception, as well, is a barrier. Females are 2.5 times more likely than males to say that people who work in technology are boring or not like me. Women also drop out of pursuing computer science at rates of 1.2 to 1.7, so roughly one and a half times more than men at every single stage of the pipeline.
So what solutions should we consider? As the EEOC looks ahead to the next 50 years, there are two main issues to solve. First is helping companies create a more robust talent pipeline for women and minorities with greater representation at every level of management.
This includes identifying and eliminating unconscious and conscious bias in the workplace. This could also include more advanced analytics to assess systematic discrimination and patterns of practice both at the company and the industry level.
Second is supporting greater access in K through 12 to ensure that all children, regardless of gender or race, are exposed to computer science and have a chance to try it, given awareness and access are key. Today, computer science is not taught in three-quarters of U.S. public high schools. Virtually no Federal funding goes to support computer science offerings in schools. And broadening access to all kids is an important part of ensuring equal access and increasing diversity and inclusion.
In conclusion, there is a significant gap to address for women and minorities in technology, both in the workplace and the education to employment funnel. The U.S. faces a 1 million job talent gap in computing jobs by 2020, and women and minorities could be a significant part of the solution there.
Addressing recruiting and hiring barriers is important but it's not enough. There is a shortage of qualified candidates for technical jobs. We must address conscious and unconscious bias to create a more inclusive workplace and look upstream to broaden K through 12 exposure to computer science and related areas. Thank you for the opportunity to share some thoughts with you today. I look forward to a broader conversation.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. We will now shift to our VTC where we have Ms. Connell. Thank you for joining us.
MS. CONNELL: Thank you, and thank you for the invitation to appear before the Commission today to answer questions and make comments on the important topic of diversity in the tech sector. My name is Erin Connell, and I'm a partner at Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe in San Francisco where I represent employers, many in the tech sector, on a variety of employment topics, including EEO obligations for Federal contractors, OFCCP compliance and today's topic of diversity initiatives.
Before addressing some of the innovative solutions being implemented by technology companies today, it's important to first understand why there are lower percentages of women and certain minority groups, in particular, African-Americans and Hispanics, in technical jobs than in nontechnical jobs, and why these numbers have been slow to change.
In large part, the problem stems from the fact that historically, women and minorities were less likely to study computer science or major in STEM fields, largely because they were discouraged, or not encouraged, to do so. Research shows that at least for female students, lack of encouragement and exposure are key factors explaining why they choose not to pursue computer science degrees.
This education gap has led to a skills gap, which continues to be a primary driver of hiring disparities in tech jobs. Unfortunately, statistics illustrate that the problem is not getting better, and in some cases, it is actually getting worse.
For example, a National Student Clearinghouse Research Center recently conducted a 10-year review of Science and Engineering degrees at colleges and universities. Although the results show that women consistently earn roughly 50 percent of Science and Engineering bachelor's degrees generally; this overall parity primarily is driven by women's overrepresentation in fields such as psychology, where in 2014 they earned 77 percent of degrees, biological and agricultural sciences, where they earned 58 percent of degrees, and social sciences, where they earned 53 percent of degrees.
Yet in the field most directly relevant to the tech sector, computer science, women still lag behind. In 2014, women earned only 18 percent of computer science degrees, a drop from 2004 when they earned 23 percent. Data from the Computing Research Association shows similar trends for minority groups. In 2014, African-Americans earned 4.1 percent of computing degrees, and Hispanics earned 7.7 percent. Specifically, with respect to computer science, African-Americans earned 3.2 percent in 2014, a drop from 3.8 percent in 2013, and Hispanics earned 6.8 percent in 2014, a slight increase from six percent in 2013.
Given these numbers, some of the most innovative and promising diversity initiatives coming out of the technology sector focus on education. While tech companies have implemented dozens of programs, I will highlight only a few in my remarks today, although I'm happy to provide an extended supplemental list, if requested.
One example is Facebook's TechPrep. This was a website launched in 2015 that connects both students as well as parents and guardians to computer science and technology resources. The website is in both English and Spanish. It includes information on programmer's earnings and school requirements to go into programming. It also includes visual programmer profiles, including men and women of all races, to allow students to see individuals who look like them succeeding in computer science related jobs.
A second example is Oracle's support for Design Tech High School, a free innovative charter school that incorporates technology, design thinking and problem solving skills. Oracle is building Design Tech, a brand new facility on the Oracle headquarters campus, which will be the school's permanent home starting in 2017.
A third example is Intel's support for Code 2040, including a commitment over the course of three years to support Code 2040's top programs, which aim to inspire and support more women and minorities to earn technical degrees. To be sure, the tech sector today is engaged in far more than education initiatives aimed to increase pipeline. Tech companies also have implemented changes to recruiting practices to increase minority and female representation. They have implemented programs to attract, retain and promote diverse talent and have undertaken efforts to foster a culture of inclusion.
One example is tech's adaptation of the Rooney Rule. The rule, named after Dan Rooney, the former chair of the Pittsburgh Steelers, requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching or senior positions. Several tech companies are now requiring at least one female or minority to be considered when hiring for certain open positions, including leadership positions.
Another example is the offer of prizes, such as iPads, for diverse employee referrals, or incentive payments to recruiters for diverse candidates. Some technology companies also now use diversity recruiters, whose job is to specifically find and attract diverse talent. Other tech companies have publicly announced percentage-based hiring goals or utilization benchmarks.
Along with a focus on improving numbers, unconscious bias training has become fairly widespread and including an emphasis on bias interrupters, which are changes made in employment practices aimed to curb or reduce the impact of bias. Additionally, now more than ever, tech companies are focusing on analyzing pay and ensuring pay equity, implementing expanded family-friendly leave policies and health benefits, and creating internships, scholarships, mentoring and sponsorship programs, substantive and leadership training courses and affinity groups; all aimed at attracting, retaining and promoting diverse talent.
In closing, tech companies have implemented numerous initiatives to address the different aspects of the diversity challenges they face today. If the industry as a whole expects to see long lasting sustainable change, however, addressing the education gap in computer science and related fields is critical. Thank you.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you, Ms. Connell. Now I'll turn it over to Ms. McCann.
MS. MCCANN: Thank you for inviting AARP to discuss the issue of diversity in the technology industry and, in particular, the problem of age discrimination. At AARP, we are busily planning events and activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act next year.
Unfortunately, however, the ADEA's purposes remain unfulfilled, and ageism remains pervasive in the American labor force. In a 2013 AARP study, nearly two-thirds of the older workers reported witnessing or experiencing age discrimination in the workplace. And of those, 92 percent said it was either very or somewhat common. And as Commissioner Lipnic mentioned earlier, older workers are overrepresented amongst the long-term unemployed.
Age discrimination appears to be particularly entrenched in the technology sector. According to a recent Fortune magazine article, the median age of employees at Twitter is just 28, and at Facebook and Google, it's 29. When you consider that the median age of the workforce overall is 42 years old, the message is stark. Older workers are persona non grata at tech companies.
While those statistics are stunning on their own, what's even more amazing is the industry is so unapologetic about it. Rather than try to hide or explain away the lack of age diversity, they boast about it, use it as a recruiting tool to attract even more younger workers. And in doing so, they exacerbate the problem by sending a clear message to older workers that they are not welcome and to apply would be futile.
But of course, based on their public comments in the media, these companies don't see that as a problem at all. For example, the statistics we heard earlier from Mr. Edwards were very disturbing, but unlike age imbalances, at least the companies aren't boasting about their racial or gender imbalances as something to be celebrated and a reason why you would want to come work for them.
The rampant age discrimination in the technology sector is perhaps most evident in their hiring policies and practices, which are undeniably designed to attract younger employees. Job postings declaring a preference for new or recent graduates are common, and some companies have gone even so far as to specify which graduating class they are seeking.
Most recently, many employers have started to require job candidates to be digital natives. A digital native is an individual who grew up using technology from an early age versus a mere digital immigrant, like myself, who adopted technology later in life. This distinction is clearly age-based and can be used to deter and to screen out older applicants. And unfortunately, ads requiring applicants to be digital natives are increasingly common.
However, as far as I know, this practice has yet to be challenged in court. Moreover, advertising for a digital native might not even get a company what they are looking for. Just because someone is a digital native doesn't mean they are an expert in technology. The employer would be better off specifying what kind of qualifications they are looking for instead of targeting a group of individuals assuming that they possess those qualifications.
Many online applications also screen out older applicants. Some require applicants to include a date of birth, and these fields cannot be bypassed. It's almost like not including your zip code on your Amazon order. You can't proceed until you complete the field. These practices deter older people from applying as they wonder why should I even bother when my age is going to be obvious to the employer.
As I already briefly mentioned, there is simply no justification for hiring based on age stereotypes. Hiring should be inclusive and should focus on the job skills needed for the specific position. Employers need to focus on skill sets and qualifications, not solely on demographics. While employers should be able to employ candidates that they consider to be a good fit, they must not let industry and personal stereotypes influence their hiring decisions and recruiting strategies.
They should not assume older workers won't be able to fit in, that they learned their skills years ago and are simply coasting and that they are not creative or innovative. In fact, studies show that workers can be equally or more innovative as they get older. Until some of these obstacles that make challenging hiring discrimination extremely difficult are tackled, tech companies can continue to almost exclusively recruit and hire younger workers without fear of reprisal.
It's very hard to prove age discrimination in hiring. You often don't know why you're being screened out. You might have a gut or a hunch that it's your age, but you don't know who was hired instead so you can't compare your qualifications. Even easily detected forms of bias, such as job postings with maximum years of experience, go unchallenged because what we're seeing is a growing trend in the courts where employers are saying that you can't bring a disparate impact claim if you're an applicant for employment because the statute doesn't specifically say applicants can bring these type of claims.
Both AARP and the EEOC have filed amicus briefs on this issue in the Villarreal case, which is currently before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Until it's clear that applicants may bring disparate impact claims under the ADEA; some of these more pernicious hiring practices, such as maximum years of experience criteria and digital native requirements, will go unchallenged.
The high-tech industry would benefit from taking steps to examine its performance on achieving an intergenerational workforce and to take steps to correct any shortcomings uncovered, such as by incorporating age diversity in its diversity practices. Unfortunately, currently, they're not required on their EEO-1 forms to report age statistics, which makes it hard for the Agency to detect imbalances, for employers to self-examine imbalances and for older individuals to challenge them. Thank you for the time this morning.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you, Ms. McCann. And now, Ms. Velasquez.
MS. VELASQUEZ: Hi. Good afternoon. Thanks for the invitation to participate in today's meeting. My name is Camilla Velasquez, and I'm the Head of Product at JustWorks. Our focus is similar to Commissioner Barker's in that we want to focus on making small businesses great and compliant places to work.
We help entrepreneurs across all 50 states remain compliant by taking care of their team through a simple, turnkey online product for payroll, compliance and benefits. We're based in New York and we're founded in 2013. And we've got hundreds of companies and thousands of employees under our umbrella. And we believe in leveling the playing field and offering the best large company benefits for small businesses, so they in turn can care for their teams.
The ultimate goal is to free entrepreneurs to focus on what matters, which is building their businesses and creating a great place to work for all types of employees. In my position at JustWorks, I work with startups, amongst other types of companies, many of whom are in the technology sector and often employ about 1 to 100 employees. And I see the challenges that they face as they seek to grow their businesses.
Today I will share my observations and recommendations on how small tech startups can balance the competing demands and obligations that they have while seeking to promote diverse and compliant and inclusive workforces.
During the first few years of a startup, the company is mostly focused on hiring and staying alive. Founders are looking for likeminded talent to build and distribute their product, and are very rarely focusing on compliance, regulations, and the like. The fear looms, but most founders assume they'll deal with those issues if and when their startup begins to take off. Once the first round of funding comes in, a founder may seek to get their ducks in a row and they'll look for services like ours potentially or other startups similar in the field, to make sure their payroll, taxes, and legal filings are up to date and complete.
This is when they're securing things like Workers Compensation, business insurance, basic benefits for their team if the funding allows, statutory disability, and other necessary insurances that they might have skipped out when they first got started.
But after the first round of funding, basic HR and people operations or even like advanced compliance is still a luxury, and it's rare to see a true HR representative hired until a first few years into the business. Hiring and anti-discrimination trainings are rarely happening because of the need to remain really lean. In fact, it's quite late in a company's timeline before these trainings do happen.
Because startups are so often focusing on their ideas, they don't feel they have the bandwidth to focus on HR issues that we've talked about today. This is where we come in. JustWorks and other HR tech platforms can make hiring and HR turnkey and affordable. We use software and modern modes of servicing and communication. We're creating the layer between small businesses and all the constituents in the financial, regulatory and benefits worlds.
We bring businesses under one umbrella, like a cooperative. In fact, we're classified as a PEO, so each new company can benefit from the infrastructure we've already built at little marginal cost. Imagine starting a business and adding employees in any state at the push of a button and having your HR managed for you, but also passing the data and information back to you so you can make informed, legal decisions in a very cost effective way.
JustWorks is a startup's outsourced HR provider that files and complies on their behalf, but sends back data and information to keep them informed on how to remain compliant in the future. We anticipate and flag what might become future compliance issues by learning from other companies under our umbrella. For example, our technology makes it possible to alert companies as different laws become applicable once their employment numbers become higher, like the EEO requirements after reaching l5 employees. And we can remind companies to carefully assess their practices via the forms of communication they are often used to like SMS, video or just the online portal that we operate.
The more we see and learn from each existing member company, the more each new company in our network benefits. In this way, we've created a networked HR business. We also provide handbook templates and education on anti-discrimination very easily for startups to create and disseminate to their employees. And we create document centers that are easily accessible for all the employees.
Startups often employ very young employees right out of college without a lot of training and experience as part of their first group of employees. Because a startup isn't providing this core foundation of training, and it's not until later that an experienced HR professional comes in, early employees can go a long time without understanding how to manage their potential biases and how their behaviors and employment practices might he prohibiting inclusion.
The next round of employees might have more experience, and they expect the existing employees to have adequate training and understanding when in fact they don't. It's important for startups to continuously take stock of the entire employee base and reset trainings and expectations to make sure everyone's on the same page.
Startups can use services like ours or others or join networks where they can learn from each other before making mistakes by navigating these waters on their own. They can acknowledge openly the trade-offs being made at early stage by not hiring or tending to HR needs and supplement for the lack of HR through cost effective ways, like comprehensive one day EEO training or anti-harassment and prohibitions on discrimination based on age, race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability and genetic information.
JustWorks itself is a startup, and we've learned from our own experiences. We use data to understand our own processes, everything from the hiring pipeline through performance and termination if applicable, to continuously improve our people operations. We use multiple software providers that provide data and analytical tools for this and leave them available to all the appropriate departments within the company.
We hold hiring trainings for all new hiring managers. These trainings include modules on understanding inherent biases, as well as knowledge of the laws related to equal opportunity. The trainings are full days and allow all employees involved to share stories and feedback. Most founders can afford this training for themselves or their hiring managers, but the opportunity to make these trainings available to member companies through video or other on demand channels is something JustWorks is exploring.
So in conclusion, there are increasingly new, simple and affordable and non-time intensive HR products coming available on the market. Startups shouldn't have to make the tradeoff between building their businesses and being compliant. Thank you.
CHAIR YANG: Well, thank you so much for all that very helpful testimony. I wanted to now invite my fellow Commissioners to make statements, comments or questions for the panel. Each Commissioner will have seven minutes, and we'll have one round of questions followed by a short break. And then we'll have a second round of questions after that. So now I'd like to turn it over to Commissioner Barker.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: So Ms. McCann, I have a question for you. I listened with interest to your testimony, and I guess my question is, given the problem as you describe it, do you have any suggestions for what can be done to change the mindset of tech companies so that they are more receptive to older employees? I mean, is there something to convince them that there are older employees who have the skill sets that a 20-something has?
MS. MCCANN: It's a good question, and one of the things they can do is include an age component in their diversity programs, should they have them. We have found that even companies that have diversity programming often ignore age as one of the components in that. A lot of age discrimination is caused by stereotypes about older workers, and until we as a society attack those, recognize them in ourselves, which is one of the things that we're focusing on as we plan for the anniversary of the ADEA next year, these implicit and almost unconscious biases will continue.
So one way is to ensure that age is covered in diversity, but also to just, you know, take a look at their job ads and have somebody else read them to see if they are deterring older workers. I mean, a lot of the suggestions my fellow panelists made to improve the situation for race and gender could be applied as well to age, to, you know, to look more blindly at the resumes, to not ask for age or dates of graduation on the online applications, to ask the screeners that if the dates of graduation are on there, to cover them up so that it's more of an equal hiring process.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: And you know, I had never heard about this practice of setting a limit on the years of experience. Is that a common thing, or is it an occasional thing, or do you have any feel for that?
MS. MCCANN: I don't know how common it is, but it's out there. I saw it quite a bit, and we actually -- AARP Foundation is co-counsel in a case in the Northern District of Illinois where it was quite rampant at that company. We brought a case not only based on disparate treatment because we said it was -- the employer's explanation was that by hiring people with more years of experience, they would not be satisfied in the position. They would be bored, and they would also have a hard time reporting to -- I mean, they were very careful not to use the old/young category, but they said they would have a hard time reporting to a manager with less experience. So we brought the disparate treatment claim saying that those were stereotypes about older workers.
We also brought a disparate impact claim because the maximum years of service there was seven, so it's clear disparate impact on older workers. But, our disparate impact claim, got knocked out on a motion to dismiss based on the 4A2 not including the word applicant. So that will probably be going up to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Okay. And my second group of questions is for Ms. Connell. Is she still with us? Ms. Connell?
MS. CONNELL: I am, yes.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Great. So I just wanted to give you an opportunity to respond to what Ms. McCann said about discrimination against older workers -- applicants in the high-tech industry. Do you have any thoughts on that?
MS. CONNELL: I do. Thank you. I think that it's important to distinguish between non-discrimination obligations and diversity efforts, which are really about affirmative efforts. And in my experience, I know that the tech companies I work with are well aware of their non-discrimination obligations when it comes to older workers, and they take those obligations seriously.
I know anecdotes exist of individual circumstances, but, you know, I think the industry as a whole is aware of their non-discrimination obligations. And with regard to affirmative efforts, I think that companies in large part take their cues from government agencies. And certainly under the Obama administration in recent years, there has been an expansion of affirmative action obligations in certain areas, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans.
There has not been a similar expansion in terms of affirmative action obligations on the basis of age. So I think you see that mirrored out in industry, and so, you know, candidly, I think that it's no secret that diversity initiatives on the basis of age are not as prevalent as they are when it comes to race and to gender. But I do think that companies understand their non-discrimination obligations and take those seriously.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Well, I just have one follow-up question for you and that is, do the companies that you represent ever take the position that there are legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for selecting younger applicants because they have like fresher skills or more developed skills and, you know, as opposed to an older employee?
MS. CONNELL: Well, no. I would say that while I certainly can't speak to any individual companies, I would say that generally the focus is on the skill set. And particularly when you're dealing with new technologies, the skill set can be very, very specific. One example among many is virtual reality. That's a big area that's growing. And having that particular skill set is very specific, so it is -- I find that it is not based on age but it is based on the specific skill set.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Okay. Mr. Jealous, did you want to respond?
MR. JEALOUS: One thing that all this has in common is that there's a lot of social network-based recruiting. It's sort of like your dorm room to the 12th power and that helps to explain why we receive such problems with regards to gender, with regards to race and with regards to age. And to pretend as if it's not a problem, even in the industry that she mentions, virtual reality, in the Valley right now you're seeing, you know, shrinking jobs for people traditionally employed by companies like Pixar so -- you know, they basically do cartoons, right.
And at the same time, you know, you see we are burgeoning and there's actually, you know, you have guys who have been at Pixar for 15 years who could be working in VR and who are. But they find it very hard to break in because the social networks for who is at the top of VR oftentimes are people who are much younger and who are expanding, you know, basically through their social networks and their friends' social networks.
So part of the message that needs to come to the Valley is that there's an expectation to do more traditional recruiting.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: I'm sorry. I'm going to have to interrupt. I'm over my time. I apologize. Thank you.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. And now I'll turn it over to Commissioner Feldblum.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Thank you. First, I want to just note the wonderful range of witnesses that we have had here. I mean, someone from cutting edge, in terms of startups, someone who is in analysis in a place like McKinsey, a management attorney clearly with a lot of experience, a plaintiff attorney with a lot of experience, someone from the venture capital world and our in-house data person. So I really appreciate that.
And as many of you may know, that's because some staff worked very hard to make that happen. So Peach Soltis and Linda Li, I certainly want to send out my gratitude.
On that front, I also though just want to say, Mr. Jealous, that I know you're here having done venture capital stuff, but I want to say what an honor it is to have you here given your leadership at the NAACP, particularly on marriage equality and LGBT. It's very much appreciated. And I think it shows the importance of coalition work and not being focused just on scratching one's own itch, but helping other people.
I was really fascinated by the talent shortage piece that actually both you mentioned and Ms. Connell, so this point of there's going to be 1.4 million jobs requiring computer science and 400,000 skilled workers, hence the million dollar gap and 1 million jobs, is that an estimate for 2020? That's 2020, so that's four years from now?
MS. ELLINGRUD : It is at 2020.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: So, and again, Ms. Connell had noted that it's not that women aren't getting degrees in professional areas, 77 percent psychology, 58 percent biological agricultural sciences, 53 percent social sciences. Is there an information gap here in terms of what students are hearing about what would be smart for them as a career choice?
MS. ELLINGRUD : I don't know if it's an information gap or a confidence and perception gap as we were talking about, and then a desirability gap. I do think there is a bit of a PR gap that the industry has. So you talked a lot about the social sciences, biology, et cetera. Those are often tracks to be a doctor. And as we see, right, there's no gender gap in sort of the people getting -- becoming doctors today.
So I think it's more around what is -- is the desirable path to take a lot of the, for example, math and science skills that I have and apply that to computer science, and ultimately what is the path to then work in the industry, stay in the industry as we were talking about before and progress in that industry?
I don't think the industry as a whole has a very strong attractiveness component here by gender, not as much as doctors, for instance. And actually what we interestingly find is, the reasons that women tend to want to go into computer science are much more around helping society, helping others, versus an interest in the tinkering itself. So the reasons and the motivations are different, similar to why they might want to be doctors, for instance.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Well, I think that raises an interesting societal question, like do we care as a society whether more women become doctors and psychologists versus in tech so long as there's not a pay inequity, and that's a sort of occupational segregation piece, which is, of course, a big cause of the pay equity gap. But, anyway, I think that's an interesting piece to think about.
Ms. McCann, I am interested as to why you think AARP has not challenged the clearly, if it says on its face, you can't get past this tab unless you put in your age, and also the other one that seemed quite clear of being a digital native. So is there a theory as to why you haven't sued on that?
MS. MCCANN: Well, a digital native case hasn't come to me, but if it does, I will recommend a litigation case. As I said, we are challenging a maximum years of experience requirement.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Just to follow up a second. So you see in the ads that it says you must be a digital native.
MS. MCCANN: Right.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: But you haven't had someone come to you --
MS. MCCANN: Right.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: -- to say that that's been a problem?
MS. MCCANN: Right.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: I assume if the EEOC believed that that is on its face illegal, one could bring a Commissioner's charge to then try to find the applicant flow dated to see if there's been a -- well, I'm not even sure you need applicant flow data. I guess I'm just wondering. It seems like sort of on its face, but maybe that's just something the EEOC needs to do as opposed to a private plaintiff?
MS. MCCANN: And, again, if an individual came to me that said I tried to apply and I couldn't get past the date of birth requirement, we would seriously consider that type of case.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: But then that also makes me wonder about what's the -- what sort of outreach needs to be done? Presumably there have been any number of people for whom that has happened --
MS. MCCANN: Right.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: -- and yet some of them haven't taken the next step to reach out.
MS. MCCANN: Well, one of the suggestions I have is the EEOC's own regulation on job applications and job advertisements. It could very well be strengthened. Right now it's more suggestive as opposed to directive.
It says that job applications and job ads that both request or seem to show a preference to older workers or request this type of information will be closely scrutinized. And I think until there's more teeth put into that type of regulation, employers have really no incentive to seriously take a look at their hiring policies and practices when it comes to age.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Right. I'm glad we'll have a second round of questions. In my last 50 seconds I'm going to ask you, Ms. Velasquez, since -- if startups are mostly one to a hundred, clearly the employees, they're not filling out EEO-1 forms. Do you think any of them would be interested in voluntarily collecting that data and then voluntarily putting it out as a PR mechanism for themselves?
MS. VELASQUEZ: That's a great question. I'm not sure. We could certainly ask. I see a lot -- I think that the businesses that we work with on the whole really want to be better places to work. They want to make sure that they can compete against the large companies, particularly the large tech companies. We see that in New York; we see that in California. We're always competing for talent and I think they want to be really great places to work, so that's certainly something we could look into.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Okay. Thank you.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. Commissioner Lipnic.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Thank you, Madam Chair.
Mr. Jealous, I was interested in the -- and thank you for all of the very specific recommendations that you gave. And I'm curious as to whether or not -- is there an association of venture capitalists and is there some or could there be some effort by venture capital firms to say, you know what, we're going to adopt every one of these recommendations that you have here in the same way that, you know, oftentimes when law firms are hired by a company, they are asked to provide specific information about who the people will who'll be working on their cases. You know, is it a diverse group of attorneys? And I'm just curious if you thought that might be a good idea?
MR. JEALOUS: There are very --
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: How do you implement these -- your suggestions essentially?
MR. JEALOUS: Yeah. There are various associations and groups of venture capitalists. With that said, we are a fairly opinionated and unruly bunch and not regulated the same way that lawyers are.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: And slightly competitive, right?
MR. JEALOUS: Yes. Indeed. But to Commissioner Feldblum's question and to yours, we at Kapor Capital have asked all of our startups to sign something called a Kapor Capital Founder's Commitment to diversity and inclusion. It's actually voluntarily, comply with best practices.
And it has been embraced by 73 of them. It's required for all of the new ones going forward, but 73 of the existing, about 110 companies so far. And many of them see it, quite frankly, as a competitive advantage.
Similarly, we have encouraged our peers to both either use that document or create a similar document for their own companies, but also to sign on to, with regards to gender, the practices of a group called Project Include that my partner Freada Kapor Klein helped launch last week.
And so, yes, I mean, if -- you know, from our perspective, which again, is a bit unique, there is a need for more voluntary peer-to-peer outreach in the Valley amongst venture capitalists generally to encourage their peers but also their companies to embrace voluntary means of becoming more inclusive.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: And I had a question for Ms. Ellingrud and then also for Erin Connell, if we can get to her also.
So I'm very interested in the use of big data in employment, and in particular, big data as applied to the hiring process. And the concern being how is it exactly that people are being screened and what's going into the algorithm that is screening people, so whether it's based on their age or their school, or..?
And I'm wondering if McKinsey has done any work along those lines and if you have advised any companies who are tech companies who are actually creating the, you know, big data -- the hiring process. And then so I'd be interested in both you and then Ms. Connell, if she can talk to us as well.
MS. ELLINGRUD: I can't comment on individual companies, but I would say there has been a lot of energy and focus on how do we use big data both at the hiring stages as well as identifying better talent within our pipeline that breaks the mold of what we're used to, so widening the aperture of what is successful within our company. How do we identify leadership? It's not the age-old certain profile of somebody, but let's open that aperture at the front end of the funnel at recruiting and hiring and within the funnel.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: And can we -- and Ms. Connell, I'd be interested in your thoughts on this.
MS. CONNELL: Yes. Well, there's certainly been a lot of attention on the use of software products and algorithms in the hiring process and ways to implement the use of big data. And I think that the appeal of it obviously is that it is efficient and the companies who are promoting it even advertise that they can reduce things like unconscious bias through the use of these tools.
The obvious risk on the other side is that, in fact, these types of tools may perpetuate that type of bias. And so I think that while they -- these types of products are growing in popularity, there's a lot of caution around them and so I think that employers are cognizant of the risks and a lot of the devil is in the details in terms of whether these tools are really going to be of a benefit.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: And Ms. Velasquez, I'm interested in -- I don't know if you have worked in this area at all or advised any companies who are using that kind of platform for hiring purposes?
MS. VELASQUEZ: I would say for the -- I would say for the most part, the size of companies that we work with, they're not using those types of tools. Not only do they have not a lot of data themselves to contribute to anything -- so for us to make an algorithm for example would be challenging -- but similar for the caution that Erin just mentioned, I think we're not really seeing a lot of use there.
We also see hiring for culture fit at a small -- a smaller business being very important and also we're trying to help them understand what culture fit means in light of diversity initiatives and whatnot. So I think we haven't really seen algorithms that are very good at identifying culture fit, for example, just yet.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: And so can I ask you what right now is -- what is the culture fit that, you know, pick a typical company, startup company, might be looking for?
MS. VELASQUEZ: I definitely think that that is specific to each individual company. I wouldn't be able to speak to --
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Go ahead and stereotype and generalize.
MS. VELASQUEZ: No. I mean, I can -- the only thing I can really speak to is JustWorks' culture itself and we have a really great set of values. Grit is the number one value that we have, and so we're really not focused necessarily on where somebody went to college, but the challenges they faced and how they've overcome them and the perseverance. So that's our number one company value and we're always talking and celebrating grit, not only just at the office but in somebody's life.
So I mean, those are the types of things, but there hasn't been an algorithm for grit yet, and if there is, I would certainly like to use it.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Okay. I see my time is just about up. Thank you.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. Commissioner Burrows.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: Yes. I am particularly interested in some of the issues around how information about job opportunities happens and even with these -- you know, and I think to Ben -- and welcome here. Thank you for coming -- sort of, you know, this conversation around how you get hired and find out that there's even an opportunity open. I'd love to hear you speak a bit to that and particularly because I'm interested in the idea that in the 80s it was more diverse than it is. There are a few places where that is true and I think that is also something that Ms. Ellingrud could speak to as well.
So to the two of you, could you talk a bit more about exactly what's happening around that both for promotions and hiring and then expand maybe on some of the things we could do about it.
MR. JEALOUS: Sure. I mean, and take, just for a second, the 80s. One of the things there is a lot of the PC companies were recruiting people right out of the military, and that explains part of the difference.
The kind of old, black men of Silicone Valley can still be found because it's not that old of an industry. They're in their 80s. And you sit down with them and they came in from the U.S. military.
We're not recruiting in the same way from the military. We're recruiting from elite colleges now and that's part of the difference why things go backwards.
There's also been -- you cited that the fall in women coming out with degrees in computer sciences between the early part of this century and more recently, it was actually even higher if you go back to the 1980s.
The -- as far as networks, one thing I'll say is that there is a lot of room for innovation, as far as making it easier to find candidates of color and for employers who are looking for them to connect with them. We've seen companies like Jopwell are doing a very good job at this. But, you know, for us at Kapor Capital, the number one request we get from job seekers and from employers is for a jobs board, and it's something that we're -- because we're seen as a company that's sort of an honest broker. And folks want us to post and it's something that we're trying to do.
But there's a real, you know, I would say on one side there's a surprising surplus of goodwill that's really looking for channels to reach on, you know, folks on the other side; and on the other side, you know, we have folks coming out of school 2X, 3X their representation in the industry, so there's also a supply that's searching.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: Thank you. Ms. Ellingrud?
MS. ELLINGRUD: Yeah. I would say similarly I think it's the targeting of these elite schools that is this network effect that we're talking about. So it's knowing somebody already who has the job that you might be interested. Maybe you weren't even aware of it before but they came back, told you about it, coached you through the interview process because they knew what they were looking for and you had that sort of buddy along the way.
And I think as we connect that sort of who is in your social circle and who do you know who can coach you as well as I think companies starting to focus on a fewer set of elite schools. The combination of those two things I think is resulting in what we're talking about here.
I do think there's an opportunity as we think about technology. How could technology break through and make it efficient for higher employers to at least scan a broader set of schools, so to hire, you know, somebody from School number 200 on their original list in a more creative way than we do today.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: That's very helpful. I just have to note to that the -- in looking at sort of the arc of this, certainly for women, computer programming started out as an almost exclusively female job in the 1940s and up through the 60s. In fact, in 1967 there was an article called The Computer Girl, which was for programming. That was a female occupation and it sort of had this stereotype, which is a sort of very interesting history. And as the people realized it wasn't the hardware, which was all male, but the programming, which was all female, that that was really sort of part of the action that then started to change.
So I think it's interesting to think about that history in thinking about sort of some of the potential for culture changes and for getting the interest more broad. Ben, did you want to add?
MR. JEALOUS: Yeah, just to say that gender's one of the places where culture change I think can flip things most quickly.
There's experience, I believe it's out of UC Berkley where they frankly changed the posters on the walls, took down the Star Wars posters and so forth but also changed the name of the intro computer science course to something like the beauty and joy of computing. And the number of women in the class just shot up.
And so it's -- you know, it's just small things like that and, frankly, replicating it. You know, why every school hasn't done that since that success, I cannot explain.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: Okay. And I have a question for Mr. Edwards. I wanted to ask if you, in looking at the data from the high tech jobs or from the companies, rather, have seen the same kinds of lack of diversity in jobs that were not tech related, because some of the public reports have indicated that this is a problem that's not even -- you know, that the pipeline needs to be thought about differently because it's not even unique only to the high-tech jobs but to jobs where there's, you know, other kinds of skills, clerical and administrative, that sort of thing.
MR. EDWARDS: Sure. Certainly we do see the same type of things. We see the same patterns in terms of moving up in the company.
And the thing to keep in mind in the high-tech industry is those jobs when we talk about executives are really pretty diverse types of jobs because they're dealing with executives that are in charge of human resources and other things that aren't at all related to technology.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: So the pipeline issues we've been talking about really go to the high-tech jobs but certainly would not explain the accounting jobs and the HR jobs and all the other kinds of things that really don't require computer science degree so that the problem is broader than that. And I don't know if any of you have sort of taken a look at these issues with respect to those other jobs in the tech companies. Just sort of to the panel at large.
MR. JEALOUS: When I was at the NAACP, the brief that I was handed that had been our biggest failure was Madison Avenue where we had firms where there -- you know, in New York City where there were no black secretaries. There were no Latino secretaries.
And walking through Silicon Valley firms feels very similar to going into those Madison Avenue just five years ago. And literally 50 years of NCAAP presence had failed in Madison Avenue and, you know, on Madison Avenue trying to integrate those firms.
And similarly, you know, I worry that if we are not aggressive in a sustained way, things could get even worse still. But the reality is the Silicon Valley is an industry where things have gotten worse by at least by half over the last 30 years. There's no reason to assume that they're going to get better without a sustained aggressive effort.
I know it's a very general comment, but I hope it will kind of help you guys steel your will for what is likely going to be a long fight.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: Thank you.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. One of the significant findings from our EEO-1 analysis of tech firms was that even where there is representation of women and people of color at -- in tech jobs, in technology level jobs, in professional levels, we weren't seeing them represented in the same way in higher level jobs, the executive jobs, the senior level management jobs. I was interested in your thoughts on what are some of those barriers for some of the highest level jobs.
Mr. Jealous, you spoke earlier about some of the social networks and I have also heard people say that access to venture capital funding can be one of those barriers that keep people from advancing. I was interested to hear you kind of talk more about that and to also hear from others on that.
MR. JEALOUS: You know, we at Kapor Capital are very aware of our role, especially as seed-stage funders, as a validator, to get people in.
We've seen a real increase in black-led firms, just small numbers, but rapidly increasing, and quite frankly, black firms, female firms. We have seen some of the, you know, Google Venture's Andreessen Horowitz begin to hire black partners. But there is still a profound lack of access and part of it just has to do with the whole ecology of who's actually writing these checks.
The -- I'm not -- you know, what we've decided -- I mean, in some ways it goes to Commissioner Barker's comment -- you know, quite frankly is that our best effort, as much effort as we put in trying to help companies like Google or Facebook or Uber, our best effort is actually on the front end.
The best thing we can do is to really push and inspire folks to create inclusive companies from the very beginning and to really push our peer venture capitals -- our peer venture capitalists to move beyond their patterns. And I must say, somebody's principally been focused on racial inclusion, probably the most egregious stories you hear are around sexual harassment and the mistreatment of women by venture capitalists. But it speaks, quite frankly, to a kind of old retrograde mindset that also impacts race.
And, you know, as somebody -- the last thing I'll say is, racial stereotypes play a real problem, and it's not just with blacks and Latinos. You can talk, quite frankly, to the kind of older South Asian men in the valley about how they were perceived 30 years ago as people who were diligent workers but not great leaders.
And the only way that that's really changed, quite frankly, is that folks as they've broken through, have put themselves in places of leadership and have shown and have overcome through time. And so I think with these firms that are being started and basically are all entirely women, are all entirely blacks, that's part of what's happening now.
And it gives you hope that maybe over time things will change but, again, given what we're dealing with, given that things have gone backwards, folks need as much external encouragement and, in some cases, even requirement, if we're going to see things change.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. And Ms. Ellingrud, can you speak to what your research and work has shown about some of those barriers and what companies can do to address them.
MS. ELLINGRUD: Yeah. So I think we see three main barriers of why the representation of women in this particular case starts off low and gets even lower as you get to the C-suite. It is important to note that this year we'll be adding race, so we'll be able over the next six months to understand that funnel as well.
But for now, let me highlight the three barriers that we see on the female front. The first is a promotion rate. So women at every single level were less likely than male counterparts to be promoted and, at first, there was a hypothesis of maybe it's because women are leaving the workplace. And it did not turn out to be true. Women leave the workplace at the same rate as men, but they're stalled at lower levels of seniority within the workplace.
And, in fact, in the C-suite we found that women on average across all industries leave at half the rate of other fellow senior men. So, in fact, women are staying in those senior roles longer.
The second pattern that we see in how companies can sort of reverse this, is we see a shift towards staff roles versus line roles, so staff roles, head of HR, legal, finance, et cetera, versus a line role where you own a P&L. These line roles are typically where CEOs are pulled from over time. And we see women tending to be more in these staff roles and as they get more senior, more and more of those women occupy the staff roles versus the line roles. So there's a shift over time that exacerbates the representation we see in that C-suite.
And then the last thing is around sponsorship networks and the sort of network effect that we're talking about. If you ask a woman and a man just promoted to the same level, did four or more people help you get here, the men, 15 percentage more percent of the time -- 15 percent point more will say four or more people helped me get here and the women have more narrow and more junior sponsorship networks.
We will see over time if this is the same -- the same is true of other minorities. But this is I think a huge barrier that companies can then proactively say, well, how do we then identify the unconscious and conscious bias in the promotion rates? How do we shift this staff role versus line role mix and then how do we get into this so that we're changing some of these sponsorship networks and proactively making sure that they are broad and deep and anchored in the right senior level of people and leaders in the organization?
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. One of the concerns that we've seen sometimes around culture fit is that it could be used in a way to sort of perpetuate the existing culture and the people who are in the workplace. What are your thoughts on how to address some of those issues? Ms. Velasquez?
MS. VELASQUEZ: Sure. Well, I was just going to say that, you know, for us, when we actually talk about our culture, it's diverse. So by just calling that out, then immediately when you ask culture fit, then you just ask yourself does this equal this. And so -- and we're also talking about diversity of thought and experience and not just the sort of standard categories.
But I also wanted to add one thing about parental leave policies, which I think are super critical and these are some things that we like to help companies with, for example, try to create parental leave policies that are not necessarily just geared towards the women, but obviously geared towards the men as well and then so that women can see examples of men taking parental leave and making it sort of a standard across the board that you would go and be with your families and not just making it, oh well, you know, this woman has come in. She's of this age. She's probably going to have a baby, so therefore, we'll adjust accordingly.
And so I think helping people with really, really great paternal leave policy -- and we definitely see a lot of tech companies that are pushing forward in this area and serving as really great examples to parental leave and also allowing you to take your parental leave not just as soon as the baby's born but even later up to two or three months later. So we see some really great examples there and I think that that is something that a lot of tech companies can start to do right out of the gate and make those policies really well-known, encourage people to take the parental leave policy, reward people for taking their parental leave and not perpetuate the stigmas there.
CHAIR YANG: Well, thank you. I see I am just about out of time. So with that, I want to thank you all for this first round of questions. This has really been extraordinarily valuable for us. We'll take a 10-minute break until about 3:05 and we will start with another round. Thank you so much.
CHAIR YANG: Welcome back to everyone. We will now have our second round of questions and I will turn it over to Commissioner Barker again.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Great. Thank you so much. So I'm going to start with you, Ron. Of course I pick you when you're in the middle of drinking water. Sorry about that. But I really want to pitch this to Ms. Ellingrud, I think you possibly. And that is looking at the data and very informative data, everything you put together. But I realize that our data is based on the EEO-1.
And so we collect information about individual jobs, the numbers of different people or individual jobs from people who report. But that's not connected to the qualifications for those jobs or the required degrees.
So it occurred to me that what would be really helpful to me and it may be that we have a way of collecting this, although I doubt it, or that this is something that McKinsey has done. What would be really helpful to me is to correlate, you know, like for a technician, for example.
Does it require a computer science degree, for example, and within a certain technical job, since we're looking at high-tech, within a specific technical job it requires a specific degree? You know, what -- how does the data fall out and does it look any different as far as the number of women who had -- you know, there's an absolute, "you've got to have a computer science degree requirement," for example. And within that specification, what are the percentages of women who apply and are hired? Well, let's just say hired in high-tech versus women who are hired in the private industry into jobs that require that same degree, whatever it may be called. Is that something McKinsey has done, do you know, or could do or does anybody else have any thoughts on that?
MS. ELLINGRUD: We have not done it specific to degree required or even at the specific level of technical role within high-tech company.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Yeah.
MS. ELLINGRUD: So that would be an interesting area for further investigation.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: I would really like to see that because that really drills down to the core. Yes, Ron?
MR. EDWARDS: I would just add that the Department of Labor does collect data that's like that and we could certainly look into that for you and see sort of a background in terms of the types of degrees that are required.
And the other thing, in terms of doing our literature review, there's frequently references to high-tech as being an area that doesn't really require advanced degrees, so a lot of people think of high-tech as always requiring, you know, a master's degree or something like that. But there's a lot of high school graduates that work in jobs in the high-tech field as well.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Yeah. I'm really interested in comparing -- making sure we're comparing apples to apples. So instead of looking at aggregate data and instead of looking data by whatever people call their jobs, to look at -- you know, to find a job that does require a specific, you know, science or math or engineering or computer science degree and see if, you know, what it looks like at that level.
So if that's something you can work with DOL on getting, that'd be great, Ron.
MR. EDWARDS: We can write --
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Thank you. Yes, sir.
MR. JEALOUS: Just on that point, I think one thing that should be noted is that the inclusion, for instance, of blacks as computer programmers, computer scientists, in the second largest tech area in the country, which is this area, is much higher. And what no one has really done with any seriousness is to look at why and to compare the two.
And people will be quick to say there's different types of programming that are more common here than there and so forth, but while that should be taken into account, there are clearly lessons that could be learned from the second largest tech community in the country that could inform the absolute largest. And I think it would be a mistake to just focus on the relative failures in the Silicon Valley without looking at the relative successes over here.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Now, when you say "here", are you talking about the Federal government or the D.C. area?
MR. JEALOUS: No, no, I mean, literally in this area between Dulles and BWI.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Right. Okay. Thank you.
MR. JEALOUS: Yep.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. Commissioner Feldblum.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Great. Thank you in terms of explaining what's here.
MR. JEALOUS: Yeah, exactly.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: And that is fascinating in terms of some of the data that you can get when you're looking at things regionally.
MR. JEALOUS: Yep.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: I mean, even the difference that you said between the Valley and Santa Clara, right, that --
MR. JEALOUS: Yeah. I mean, just one anecdotal thing I think people who live in this region -- I know we're simulcasting -- but here around the nation's capital, and to just kind of put this in perspective in some ways why the failings in the Valley are so frustrating, Prince George's County is one of the wealthiest predominantly black counties in the country. That's driven primarily by black IT workers.
Blacks in computer programming related professions, so what are in the census track I believe, not computer operators but the one above that, the highest level in the census tracks now rival teachers as pillars of the black middle class.
So the -- you know, the exclusion in the Valley is sort of even more profound when you look at the successes in other regions of the country.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Right. Which, again, seems to speak to the social networking, you know, success breeds success.
MR. JEALOUS: Right.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: So actually this was a semi-related question to Ron. As many of the people know me, I often come out as a data geek. I just love it. And so I was struck by your point that in the EEO-1 data, it's not like we have a term for high-tech. It's not like there's the Valley or even -- so what's your sense of what we might do better in the EEO-1 categories to hone in on what we think is high tech?
I mean, I believe that we don't sort of have control over those job categories. We're using stuff from DOL, DLS, so what would be some ideas for that?
MR. EDWARDS: Well, I think the issue is not so much what we can do in the EEO-1. It's just that this is such a new industry and a new area, so to speak, that -- and by area I mean geographic area -- that it really hasn't kept up the way that we think about technology or the technology industry. We use, you know, North American industrial standard classification codes. So that really doesn't pick up on high tech as a particular industry.
And then it's also a peculiar sort of industry in the sense that it's -- there are high-tech jobs all over. So all of a sudden it's not just high-tech jobs that are in the Silicon Valley but there's also automobile manufacturers that have high-tech jobs and things like that. So we're very interested in the high-tech jobs. That's where, you know, our work is. But sometimes it doesn't follow the same typical sort of industry boundaries or even firm boundaries, you know. So it can vary.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Well, I do wonder whether there's some role for the EEOC to play in sort of convening the various agencies that make decisions about this and, in the sense, be the driver to saying, hey, can we catch up in terms of the data. I mean, the Federal government is the biggest data collector.
MR. EDWARDS: Right.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: So if we can help with that. My other question has to do with this diversity of disability and age. Two pieces, one, I think you mentioned -- it might have been you, Laurie, that when companies are focused on the diversity and inclusion -- oh, and I think also Ms. Connell said this -- they focus on diversity and inclusion, they haven't put in age and disability as something they're aiming for. And I'm wondering if part of that cycle is they're not being asked to report on age and disability and that creates something of a cycle.
But if that's the case, I wonder what some of the issues are on self-reporting on age. There's a lot of people, their age is not obvious and they actually do not want to make it obvious. And I -- in disability people have this issue and I just say, you know, there's disability pride. We want people to have pride, even if they have a hidden disability.
But, so I'm curious about is there anything we could get companies to do to even before they have to report on data, could they include age and disability in their diversity initiatives and then anything in particular in terms of self-reporting on age. So, that might be actually, Ms. Velasquez, to start with you because your companies might be the most ready to have the lead and Mr. Jealous as well.
MS. VELASQUEZ: Sure. I mean, I think it's a good idea but it's hard for me to speak to this. So we don't do it now. We also are mostly focusing on companies that are smaller. So we also don't do the form that is required for companies that are larger than 100. So I really don't have a lot of information in order to be able to determine whether they would be interested in doing this. So we'd want to start at least with the data that is already requested and see if they would be willing to do that before we would add more to it. So it's hard for me to speak to that.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Right.
MR. JEALOUS: We have seen some forward movement just on racial inclusion in the Valley because of shame. In this respect, I think Rainbow PUSH and Reverend Jackson have played -- you know, have made a positive contribution and many people inside these companies who have been advocating for years.
There's a real room to increase shame around the exclusion of older workers, especially because old in the Silicon Valley can be 35. I mean, let's be really clear.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Really what?
MR. JEALOUS: Can be 35.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Oh, yeah, yeah.
MR. JEALOUS: I mean, as you heard, seven years, right? Like do the math. It can be 32. So the reality is that it's so extreme and well-known.
You know, and part of what we're dealing with is very large companies who see themselves as startups and, therefore, don't think that they should be regulated or sort of encumbered in any way. They feel very fragile. They see all the trauma of going through all the things that almost happened, that almost happened just a few years ago and there's a need for the country in all of its various ways to actually require them to sort of grow up and accept that they're now very big corporations.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Ending in Laurie in the last few seconds here.
MS. MCCANN: I just want to say, I mean, repeat itself, we're very conflicted over whether or not we want people to have to report their ages. I mean, that is -- when I talk to members, that's their biggest fear, that they somehow trick this employer and they have to go in and produce their driver's license for immigration purposes. So, I mean, there's no easy to answer to that.
But when I was focusing on diversity, I just mean focus on age as a topic during diversity.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Yes. And that was -
MS. MCCANN: Yeah.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: -- my first question. Could you just get them to put it in? I was just saying, if they're not putting in because they're not being required to collect, is that thing. But no, I'm all about just put it in.
MS. MCCANN: Right.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Just put it in as part of diversity.
MS. ELLINGRUD: Can I just have one --
MS. CONNELL: I -- this --
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Oh, yes. Okay.
MS. CONNELL: This is Erin Connell. I actually just wanted to make one point of clarification and comment and that is specifically with regard to individuals with disabilities, certainly Federal contractors are obligated to engage in outreach. And so while those regulations are fairly new, I think that there are many tech companies that are Federal contractors. And so certainly individuals with disabilities, it is part of their outreach and diversity programs, and so other companies looking to make diversity -- to increase their diversity efforts, I think, can look to what Federal contractors are doing in that space.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Yep. Thank you.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you.
MS. VELASQUEZ: Can I add something real quick? So one of the things I wanted to add was sort of the -- to follow up on a lot of companies seeing themselves as startups and, again, it's that need to be operating really lean. And a lot of times that comes down to things like salaries, so they want to pay lower salaries because they're operating really lean. And, again, it's a younger person who might be able to afford to live with those types of salaries. And whereas like they might see, for example, offering benefits to dependents is also very expensive.
So then they're saying, okay, well, this is a person who's coming in who's got a wife and two kids and now it's -- I can't afford to bring that person on. And this person is actually not going to take the job because they're not offering healthcare to dependents and that's too expensive. So, again, there's a sense of the cost of hiring somebody who has more needs when it comes to either benefits or salary and I think that's something that we probably need to address as well.
MR. JEALOUS: Can I just jump in for three quick points? One is, I just want to be clear, when I say acting like startups who aren't -- I'm not talking about people with 10 employees but tens of thousands of employees, all right? You know what I'm saying? That's where the problem comes in.
Two, there -- this issue of the 1.4 million, you know, worker shortfall in four years is a real place for the government to, quite frankly, create a national mandate that we have lacked and that we need that will then create pressure to do a more inclusive job of hiring in this country.
One of the tough things is that we've -- you know, to admit but it's true and I would point you to frankly the work of Bill Spriggs, the former assistant Secretary of labor for policy who's now over at the AFL, used to be at Howard.
Historically when reliance on foreign workers in tech have gone up, inclusion has gone down. And we just need to be real about that and to deal with it in an open way.
But the other thing is that if you -- you know, if you create that national mandate, then it gives people, quite frankly, sort of permission, incentive to change the -- everything that we're talking about here, gender, age, race, really comes down to companies at the end of the day being reluctant to change and we need them to change. And the only mandate I see, quite frankly, is what it means for our country if we don't rise to the challenge of this 1.4 million worker shortfall.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. And now, Commissioner Lipnic.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Thank you, Madam Chair. I want to follow up on that a little bit, but first let me ask a question. Ms. Ellingrud, in your testimony when you talked about the staff versus line roles and women or minorities who -- I think you were focused particularly on women who tend to end up not in a profit and loss function of the company but in more of a staff role. Is that -- that's not unique to Silicon Valley? And do you have comparisons in any way about, you know, how does that compare in Silicon Valley to, you know, pick some other sector of the economy?
MS. ELLINGRUD: Yeah. We don't have geographic cuts. We do have some sector-specific cuts, so high-tech both software and hardware and I can take a look at that and get back to you.
I think overall, though, the data that we saw in terms of staff versus line role was that men -- 57 percent of women at a manager level have a staff role or have a line role and then that falls to 43 percent of women in the C-suite, so falling by a good 10 percentage points or so. And, you're right, that is across all industries and tech being consistent with the rest.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Right. Okay. And then to go back to -- so also related to profit and loss, and so this is sort of -- I'm asking this question of Mr. Jealous and Ms. Ellingrud and then Ms. Velasquez. Related to what you were saying, is there any analysis of -- so -- of let's say that there was a, you know, that Silicon Valley has a great effort at hiring minorities and people of color into positions that they haven't. So all of these sort of efforts that are being talked about in all of your testimony.
But what's the -- who's monitoring the -- and they're doing that as compared to, you know, the Stanfords and the MITs that they usually go to.
I assume that these companies have a very real need to turn a profit pretty quickly, and is there any sort of information about or, is there a mindset about, you know, we must have the, you know, Stanford and MIT people right away because the sooner we get them in, you know, the faster they're going to be helping us turn a profit as opposed to whatever their mindset is about people who, you know, aren't coming from such elite schools?
MR. JEALOUS: There are some very successful serial entrepreneurs who actually make a point of not recruiting from those schools because when you recruit from those schools, the folks are in such high demand, they leave more quickly.
And that's part of this -- those are some of the facts that need to be kind of put out there to help shift mindset. They're actually --
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: They leave but they go to another tech company, right?
MR. JEALOUS: Yeah. They leave and they go to another company. But if you recruit simply from Northwestern, right, or Northeastern and not from University of Chicago or MIT, the person may stay with you twice as long, and similarly from NHBCU.
One thing I just want to mention that we haven't mentioned but it's sort of perhaps so obvious that we can miss it, is that the nature of exclusion and oppression in any form is that it takes all the people in a position of power to change it, right. Like I don't understand how you end sexism without men being involved in sexism. I don't understand how you end racism without white people being involved in ending racism.
And one of the realities in these companies is that while we have groups for every sort of employee, what we don't have is a support group for typically the white man who decides that he wants to take on patterns of gender exclusion in his company or patterns of racial exclusion in his company.
In fact, you can get into interesting situations where you have, you know, white men who are line leaders, who are driving P&L, who have built the company and want to get involved and they're told, no, don't do that, because that's the job for the person of color or the woman who's been hired to fix it. And yet that person doesn't have the relative power.
And so there is a need to figure out how to empower people in positions of power to be allies to these efforts. And, you know, we the people of color, we the women in these companies can simply not do it by ourselves.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Well, and that gets to something else I wanted to ask you, which is -- I was fascinated about what you said about the east coast, here, this area compared to Silicon Valley. And what I was going to ask you is, do we need the Jackie Robinson effect in Silicon Valley and, you know, someone who, you know, both has the talent but also the commitment from leadership to, you know, go after those individuals and give them the chance to succeed?
MR. JEALOUS: Well, you know, yeah. I mean, I think we need, quite frankly, more people like Al Rooney, you know. His team, the Pittsburg Steelers eventually ended up, as Charlie No (ph) says, eventually ended up with I think a 35 or 36-year-old black head coach who won a Super Bowl, right?
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: I'm from Western Pennsylvania. I'm a huge Steelers fan.
MR. JEALOUS: Right, right, so you get it. And so the -- but the reality is that we already have many of those successes. We've already had our Jackie Robinsons in the Valley. And, again, we had them 30 years ago, 40 years ago and the situation's gotten worse. We have them now and somehow they get discounted.
You know, we -- there is a -- right now the only impetus in the Valley really seems to be shame. You know, it's been opened up. People have been, you know, basically shamed into releasing their numbers. Now they have to do something about it.
But coming behind that, like I said, is a lot of people who actually want to see it change, need to be empowered and there's also the need for a national mandate because how we get -- how we close this 1.4 million worker gap, and we don't start recruiting from more zip codes and we don't start recruiting for more age bans and we don't start recruiting more women and more people of color, I don't think anybody can explain.
MS. ELLINGRUD: Two thoughts on those comments. I think it's not just the elite schools' issue because even if you look at the representation of women minorities at those schools, we're not matching that representation. So even if you said I'm comfortable with that, which none of us are, we're not even getting to that level of representation. So there's a couple of different gaps going on.
The other thing I would say is around this sort of business case or what's the evidence for diversity, both ethic and gender diversity? And what we see out there is a continuing strengthening of that business case. So across a bunch of -- about 366 public companies in the U.S. and around the world, they looked at gender and racial diversity and a 10 percent increase in the diversity of a management team, which basically means one more person who's diverse was correlated to a one percent increase in their earnings before interest and taxes.
So it's a -- what naysayers would say is it's correlation, not causation, but I think we see patterns everywhere where the correlation is really obvious and just a very clear, stark pattern.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: Picking up on that and this is a question sort of for -- oh, I'm sorry. Are you done? I'm sorry.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Yes. Yes, yes.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: She was about to introduce you, but.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: I apologize. I was just really curious about how you can make the business case for diversity.
You know, we hear it in other areas. It's something that a lot of corporations are talking to us about and talking about amongst themselves as a recruitment issue. And, you know, the way I think about it is if you have a lot of diverse perspectives, particularly when you have a complex problem, then you get a bunch of different ways to try and fix it as opposed to one. If everybody's thinking the same way, you're sort of doing the same thing over and over and maybe the answer is something else that you won't think about unless you have a different perspective.
But, I don't know if there are -- if this is something that's even on the radar in terms of the discussions, if any of you have come across it. And so it's sort of to the panel, and if so, what does that sort of -- what does that argument sound like and, you know, is there evidence for it?
MS. CONNELL: This is Erin Connell. I'd like to make some comments on that. I think that there certainly is a growing body of literature and research and studies that do make the business case for diversity.
McKinsey has done that work, some work in that area. There was a February 2015 study entitled Diversity Matters. Morgan Stanley just came out with a study last week that showed that gender diverse companies perform better financially and are less volatile. So there certainly is a growing body of literature.
Specific to the tech industry, you are hearing more founders and leaders -- and I think that's important -- come out and speak about the importance of diversity and part of that is the business case for diversity. And there are several examples of that. The CEOs of Intel, of Salesforce, of Apple, SafricaT's just recently made some remarks about the importance of increasing gender diversity at Oracle and elsewhere in the industry.
So I think that that definitely is part of the conversation and additional research and support -- additional research in that area is helpful, but also support from the highest levels of the companies, which you are starting to see and I expect to hear more.
MS. ELLINGRUD: I'd just add a couple of things. I think there's three flavors of the argument that we've seen. So the first is what we were just talking about is, correlation between as you increase diversity of a management team that's correlated with higher earnings.
I think the important point there is there was a tipping point particularly on the gender diversity side of about 22 percent. So unless a management team was at least 22 percent female, we didn't see the results.
And our hypothesis is that that's because if you are put on a management team as a token or a single individual to play a particular role, you don't have the freedom of expression, the broader set of ideas, the real value of diversity in broadening the conversation and injecting new ideas isn't there. So that 22 percent tipping point was important.
There's two other flavors of the argument, though, to your question. There's a second piece of top quartile diverse companies, again, from this Diversity Matters work, where 15 to 35 percent more likely to outperform than other companies. And actually it was the ethnic diversity that was more likely to outperform than the gender diversity.
So, if you were top quartile ethnically diverse, you were 35 percent more likely than a bottom quartile ethnically diverse company to outperform and a 15 percent gap between top quartile versus bottom quartile in gender diversity.
And then the third flavor I would say of the business case is around employee engagement. So depending on what survey you look at, half to maybe even less than half of employees are actually engaged in their work. So these are the people driving your company, driving your growth and when those employees were asked what is the number one thing that a management team can do to get you more engaged; they said show a real commitment to diversity, not lip service, but a real commitment to diversity.
And so I think as you think about what can companies do to engage their employees, this is really high on that list.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: Follow up on that so I understand, with respect to the, you know, show a real interest in diversity, how is diversity defined and was this being asked of the entire workforce or just particular folks in it?
MS. ELLINGRUD: Yeah. This particular survey -- and there's a number of them -- was diversity broadly defined.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: Yes?
MR. EDWARDS: There is some literature that shows that more diverse firms are more likely to hold more patents than other organizations and I think for high-tech firms that's particularly a business sell.
MS. MCCANN: I just wanted to add that AARP did conduct its own research, a business case for older workers that it released in 2015 and it did show that the 50 plus segment is the most engaged across all generations and that engagement is positively correlated with higher productivity and higher revenues. So, you know, there is a business case for older workers as well.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: One additional question for Ms. Ellengrud. I noticed that you had -- I'm sorry, Ellengrud? Is that how you pronounce it? Okay. Thank you.
You mentioned in your testimony that there might be technological ways to deal with unconscious bias. And just I'd be interested to hear more about that.
MS. ELLINGRUD: I think it's really hard to parse apart what is conscious versus what is unconscious, at least as you zoom out at the overall company or even industry level. And so what I've seen some companies do is start to get into, for example, looking at individual reviews, review forms from personnel reviews and looking for key words and patterns of practice.
So, key words like "aggressive style" or "lack of executive presence" and seeing do we have a systematic pattern where we give that feedback, for example, seven times more to females than to males? And we almost never see that for males. That's the kind of pattern that they might look for. So it's more key word searches and seeing both by level of seniority within an organization and then by gender, by race, by other factors. Are we seeing some patterns that we, as a leadership team, are not comfortable with?
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: Yes.
MR. JEALOUS: And, you know, there are also startups that make it possible for you to -- you basically run your job description before it goes out through it and it identifies words like that that will turn off folks.
You know, there are also efforts to do priming so that before somebody does, you know, a call with a perspective job hire typically over video conference, they're primed with examples of stellar employees internally reminded. They kind of look like the rainbow, so they don't go in there with kind of just one vision.
And you know, there's also I think a need to -- there are efforts that have been made inside of companies that are not publicly known by single hiring managers often with very big teams who have led efforts like this and figuring out how to make those more visible would be helpful because there are often, you know, frankly not known even inside of their large company, let alone beyond it.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: Thank you.
MS. ELLINGRUD: Can I just add something? This isn't high tech by any means, but surveys, employee surveys are things that lots of large companies do and small companies can do this, too, obviously, but results aren't going to be very significant.
But for example, we run NPS, employee NPS, net promoter score surveys quarterly within our company because our company's growing so fast. We want to make sure that we're constantly measuring that and understanding which teams are the happiest and correlating that to diversity within the teams themselves. It's an actually extremely simple way that a lot of companies can do this without having to do anything high tech or any software, but understanding which teams are diverse and actually correlating that to performance and correlating that to happiness and then happiness leads to more engaged workers, leads to less turnover and so on and so forth.
But consistent employee surveys is actually very easy and something people can do all the time.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: Thank you.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. As Commissioner Feldblum mentioned in her opening, our General Counsel David Lopez and I went out to Silicon Valley back in February to meet with tech employers and employees to understand some of the challenges and to hear what the EEOC can do in this space. And I'm interested in hearing from all of you on that question.
You know, where do we go from here? We know there are significant challenges. We know there's a need to raise awareness and build that momentum within the tech industry across the country and we know that many employers are leading the way in identifying strategies for doing that.
What are some of your recommendations for what the EEOC can do to be most effective in this area? And I thought I might just start with Ms. Connell since you are in San Francisco and I don't want to leave you out since you're on a VTC.
MS. CONNELL: Thank you. I think the one thing the EEOC might consider doing is commending or recognizing companies that are leading the way to show -- because I think that both my own experience and in preparing for today, it is quite remarkable what some of the leaders are doing. There's some great programs out there. And so bringing a spotlight onto them and commending the companies that are doing great work in this area I think would be helpful.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. I'd like to open it up to others.
MR. JEALOUS: Yeah, look, I think certainly commending companies that are the beginning of good work, but we have yet to see that stellar, great company in the Silicon Valley on inclusion.
This issue of creating a national mandate I think is very, very important. And while I understand the EEOC's sort of mandated look at issues of, you know, race and age and gender, the problem of exclusion in the Valley is so much bigger. I think there's an opportunity to bring the country along in a way by just simply acknowledging the patterns of exclusion, again, to like the 99 percent of universities in this country that Silicon Valley tends not to recruit from.
When you stand in front of folks -- and I've been there with my partner, Freada Kapor Klein, when she does this, and she asks them about different types of inclusion, there is a lot of consensus about, you know, the need for the company to be better at gender inclusion or race inclusion. But the highest number is actually recruiting inclusion.
There are also profound class implications to that. You know, for instance, when we talk -- in criminal justice reform, we'll often talk about all the blacks in prison. We ignore the fact that there's an equal number of white men in prison. The disparities are different but the raw numbers are similar.
And so here we have a -- an industry that is vital to our national competiveness, that's vital to our economy, that is facing a 1.4 million worker shortfall in four years, and there's an opportunity for a moon shot in the area of inclusion to really push the nation to make up -- to fill as many of those positions as possible in that short time that would yield benefits across all the areas that we discussed today as well as frankly some that amongst the existing, less diverse workforce are even more deeply felt like the fact that their peers who went to the state school, for instance. The recruiter never even shows up.
So I would just encourage you to really take this issue, this threat to our national competitiveness seriously and use your bully pulpit, yes, to champion inclusion, race, gender, age or just inclusion period in the hiring in tech.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. Ms. Ellingrud?
MS. ELLINGRUD: I'd say a few things. I think encouraging goal setting at the company level and tracking progress over time and, yes, celebrating I think successes would help. I also think encouraging industry-level action, more coordinated industry-level action can help. Sort of the Got Milk campaign comes to mind, right. How do you change the attractiveness of an industry where there are perception and willingness to try barriers by gender that we talked about earlier?
And then the last thing is partnering with others outside the EEOC but to get broader access for computer science in K through 12 schools.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. Ms. McCann?
MS. MCCANN: I would just encourage the EEOC to continue its focus on hiring discrimination. I think the Agency has made some great strides there and just to continue it, to take -- you know, to see a digital Native case or some of these other discrimination hiring cases that seem to deter or to exclude older workers, keeping in mind that some of these cases aren't brought because the older worker's main job is to get another job. So, I mean, we were lucky in our maximum years of experience case that the individual was mad. He's still looking for a job but he said, no, that shouldn't be and so he came to AARP.
So and I think that, you know, again, the regulations could be looked at, could be more -- to have more meat to them and to be, you know, that this is not acceptable and if not, that they will be closely scrutinized.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. Ms. Velasquez?
MS. VELASQUEZ: I would just echo what everybody else said but around the examples having case studies and understanding also how those examples lead to the business case that you mentioned before, around making sure that people can understand the business outcomes, that it's not just, you know, a couple studies but it's some of these companies and these are the examples and this is what they've done and this is what it led to, I think will help people see the examples of what they can support.
And then I think some of the other things that we talked about today also around sort of bringing the data a little bit more into understanding the geographic disparity, for example, making sure that the data fits and reflects -- the data categories, in particular, reflect the changing nature of the workforce, and so -- and making sure that way it doesn't look like this one thing, this data that's being collected over here doesn't really reflect on what we see day to day, so that the job descriptions match, for example, that the bands feel adequate and those sorts of things.
We'd probably see more participation versus somebody taking a look at it and saying, oh well, this doesn't really apply to me. I'm going to opt out. And so those two things would be what I would recommend.
CHAIR YANG: Well, thank you. I want to thank all of you for your really tremendous testimony and insights that you're sharing and the important issues you're raising for the Commission and for our country as a whole. So I thank you.
And with that, I wanted to invite my colleagues to make any closing comments they have. And Commissioner Barker, I'll turn to you.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: I'll just close here with adding my thanks to the Chair's thanks. I appreciate all of your taking all the time to prepare the testimony and then coming here to answer all our questions.
And the only other thing I would say is my apologies to Ms. Connell for referring to her as Ms. Connell. Thank you all very much.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. And I will now turn it over to Commissioner Feldblum.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Okay. Thank you. Again, thank you so much for being here, for your work. I certainly hope that this is a two-way street and that you all got some ideas that you will busily go home and think about.
I would say that one of the main things that I've gotten is the importance of having a sense of a national mandate but also the particular role that EEOC can play in that. And, to me, that really is about being a catalyst and a facilitator, right?
We are first and foremost an enforcement agency. That's what we're going to be out there doing, okay, which is a piece of being a catalyst for change.
But I think the other piece is engaging our other Federal agency partners, right, education to workforce pipeline. You've got to engage the Department of Education. Having folks know they should be going into these job areas, you've got to have Department of Labor, American Job Centers, et cetera.
So I do think there is a reason why this Commission, Chair Yang, has had this meeting to raise up the issue, but then I think next steps is really us trying to be a catalyst. And this might be so much in my mind because Commissioner Lipnic and I are working very hard to get our report on preventing harassment in the workplace out by June 20th which is a report to our fellow Commissioners, but it very much focuses on how you engage all actors in society in a national mandate to simply stop harassment in the workplace, to prevent it.
And we're very clear about our role in it, our piece, but very much more so, being a catalyst to engaging lots of others. So I urge you to look for that report on June 20th and, in particular, the template that I would hope other people on the Commission, not me, Commissioner Lipnic maybe is taking the lead in moving this forward. So, thank you and, again, thank you, Chair Yang.
CHAIR YANG: Thank you, Commissioner Feldblum. I'll turn it over to Commissioner Lipnic.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Thanks, Chair Yang. Thank you, again, to all of our witnesses for not only your work today but what you've been working on and doing on this issue. And I really want to thank you for raising the profile and putting the serious work into studying it and the efforts not only in terms of collecting data, finding out what's really going on but then what do we do going forward.
And it seems to me in particular the education part of it is just such a huge component. So, to the extent that as I -- as Commissioner Feldblum just said, we are one actor in all of this but I certainly agree that so many parts of society need to be involved in this, so I'm thinking about that 1.4 million worker shortage and how many people would love to have those jobs regardless of where they come from or what school they went to or what their age is.
So, I hope that in a few years from now that if we have further research on this and study that we will be in a much better place. Thank you.
CHAIT YANG: Thank you. Commissioner Burrows.
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: I'd like to add my appreciation. I think this was extremely informative. I have a lot of additional reading to do, which is exciting because I think I'm also a -- I'm not going to say geek. That was Commissioner Feldblum's word. Wonk? I like data.
And so this has been extremely, extremely useful. So I thank you for that. I think that some of the takeaways in addition to the things that you all have instructed us with some specificity is that, you know, really company self-analysis coupled with accountability from the top and throughout is really important. The role of the venture capitalist and this sort of inside baseball kind of recruiting is something that we really need to, as a Commission, be thoughtful about how we can help address that so that there is broader diversity and that it doesn't lead to exclusion.
Obviously there's the pipeline issue and partnerships that are companies, but also the Commission maybe can do with, in the employment area -- the education area, rather, and also looking at some of the things that happen after recruitment and what happens with the internal pipeline and going forward.
So I really appreciate it. I think this -- I, too, hope this is an ongoing conversation. It's been certainly in this hearing it's rare that we have witnesses chime in and go back and forth. It's really felt like a conversation and when that does happen it's not usually something that I'm like, oh, I'm great. I'm glad that happened. And that was certainly the case today. It's been extremely, extremely useful.
I think that the first step in sort of addressing this problem and making things better really is analyzing it and figuring out what's actually going on and that certainly has happened today. I think that we are going to continue on looking at some of the next steps, so thank you, again.
CHAIR YANG: Well, thank you. As we wrap up I wanted to really commend you all for all the work that you're doing and leading in this space. We invited you here because we knew that you had tremendous insights to offer and you did prove that in your testimony today.
We do hope that this is just a one step in a much broader effort that we can engage in to promote equal opportunity, advance diversity inclusion in the tech industry.
One of the most inspiring things for me on the visit that David Lopez and I made out to Silicon Valley was the energy around the belief that anything is possible. And anything is possible, like next year, like the innovations in technology. It's not a decade away. But that ability to solve some of our hardest problems now is something that we really hope to harness in addressing these issues today.
One of the most important areas I think that we can all be looking at, is what are those practices that are working both in recruiting, advancement, reducing attrition throughout the process? And so the more that you're able to share with us or encourage others to talk with us -- often people don't want to talk to us because we're the EEOC. But we really do have an important role to play in helping solve some of these problems and looking at the kinds of practices that have made a difference, looking at some of the data and understanding why. I think that can be very instrumental in encouraging other employers to invest in some of those same practices.
So I appreciate your willingness to share your experience with us and I hope that you'll continue to engage in a dialogue with us as we move forward.
And with that, I would like to note that some -- the Commission will hold the meeting record open for 15 days and we invite members of the public to submit written comments on any issues or matters discussed at this meeting.
Those comments can be mailed to Commission Meeting EEOC Executive Officer at 131 M Street Northeast, Washington, D.C. 20507 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. These -- this is all one word and all comments made available to members of the Commission and to Commission staff working on the matters discussed at this meeting may be disclosed to the public. So providing comments in response to this, you are consenting to their use and consideration by the Commission and their public dissemination.
Accordingly, please do not include any information in submitted comments that you would not make public, such as your home address, telephone number, et cetera.
Also note that when comments are submitted by email, the sender's email address automatically appears on the message.
So with that, I would like to thank you once again for participation and for all of you who attended today's meeting. You have provided invaluable insights and we appreciate the time and effort you've taken to be here today. And so with that, do I hear a motion to adjourn the meeting?
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: I so move.
CHAIR YANG: Is there a second?
COMMISSIONER BURROWS: I second.
CHAIR YANG: All in favor?
CHORUS OF: Ayes.
CHAIR YANG: Opposed?
CHAIR YANG: Thank you. The meeting is adjourned.