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Pinterest has hired its first ever Head of Diversity, Candice Morgan. The appointment, reported by the Wall Street Journal, is symbolic, as diversity has long plagued the technology industry. Companies like Facebook, Apple, Google, Intel, Twitter have released diversity reports that have all pointed towards an industry that has a long way to go when it comes to transformation.
The appointment falls in line with Pinterest’s 2016 goals: the company announced on 30 July 2015 that it would increase its hiring rates for full time engineering roles to 30% female, full time engineers to eight percent underrepresented ethnic backgrounds and non-engineering roles to 12% underrepresented ethnic backgrounds.
The company further stated that it would, for every open leadership position, interview one person from an underrepresented background and one female candidate. The company has wasted no time in embarking on these goals, at least taking the initial crucial step.
“Our vision at Pinterest is to build a product that inspires everyone,” Evan Sharp, co-founder and chief creative officer of Pinterest, said in a statement. “To make this happen, we need to understand the perspectives and needs of people around the world.”
Morgan, who has spent 10 years at Catalyst, a non-profit research group that tracks women in business, has a tough task ahead of her. In a report released on 30 July 2015, Pinterest had only 21 % of tech jobs held by women, with 19 % of engineering jobs and 16 % of leadership roles. Black or Latino employees made up five percent of business roles, less than two percent of engineering jobs, and held none of the leadership positions.
Furthermore, Morgan will lead buy in from the higher ranking employees and directors of Pinterest. Diversity is not a ship she can successfully steer alone.
In addition to hiring a head of diversity and inclusion, Pinterest has launched two programs, The Pinterest Apprenticeship Program and Pinterest Engage for engineers from non-traditional tech backgrounds or underrepresented backgrounds.
The apprenticeship program will start on the first quarter of the year 2016 and is aimed at people without traditional backgrounds in fields like computer science to see what it’s like to be an engineer at Pinterest. The selected individuals will be part of the programme for a period of one year and at completion will have opportunities for long term employment.
Pinterest Engage is shorter, lasting for only eight weeks in summer. It is designed for first-year college students from underrepresented backgrounds studying computer science, computer engineering, software engineering or other related technical majors.