Like much of corporate America, Silicon Valley has long had a workplace diversity problem. That is leading to the emergence of a new job title: chief diversity officer.
On Wednesday, Pinterest announced its first head of diversity, Candice Morgan, and said it will launch two initiatives to introduce more engineers from underrepresented backgrounds into the field of technology.
Ms. Morgan joins Pinterest, the online scrapbooking start-up based in San Francisco, after spending nearly a decade at Catalyst, a nonprofit group based in New York that is focused on expanding opportunities for women in the workplace.
âDiverse teams â in terms of demographics and thought â outperform homogeneous teams on innovation and problem solving,â Ms. Morgan said in a statement. âI’ve spent my career advising major businesses on best practice in diversity and inclusion, and am thrilled to join Pinterest, a company committed to bringing the fullest creative potential to our product.”
Last week, Twitter said it had hired Jeffrey Siminoff, a former Apple executive, as the companyâs vice president of diversity and inclusion. In July, Facebook made public a training program it provides to employees to help manage unconscious biases that may lead to prejudiced hiring practices.
But progress has been slow, with some critics saying that tech companies only took steps begrudgingly after being publicly prodded by civil rights leaders. The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., a prominent voice in the civil rights activism movement, has called for tech companies to publicly release employee diversity statistics.
In 2014, Google complied, and some other companies followed suit. Their data offered a stark portrait of the lack of ethnic diversity in employee backgrounds at some of the worldâs most powerful technology companies. While many of the companies have pointed out the money and resources they have devoted to spurring more ethnic diversity, data suggests it has not changed much so far.
Along with the hiring of Ms. Morgan, Pinterest will pursue two new programs to encourage earlier entry for underrepresented ethnicities into the computer science field. One program, Pinterest Engage, targets college students considering computer science as a major. Another invites minorities with nontraditional tech backgrounds to apply for a year-long apprenticeship at the company, with the potential to join Pinterest full time.
âOur vision at Pinterest is to build a product that inspires everyone,â Evan Sharp, co-founder and chief creative officer of Pinterest, said in a statement. âTo make this happen, we need to understand the perspectives and needs of people around the world.â