Highly subsidized Big Tech companies fail on employment diversity

Localities should condition subsidies to ensure companies hire inclusively

May 28, 2024

Source: Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC — Despite promises to diversify their professional workforces, big tech companies have made little progress addressing the significant underrepresentation of workers of color, especially women of color, in their tech jobs, according to a new analysis by Good Jobs First.

Employee demographic reports for five major tech companies – Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Meta (Facebook), and Microsoft – reveal a profound lack of racial diversity among their professional workforces. Only 4.9% of such workers across these five companies are Black and only 6.7% are Latinx. But these racial groups are 13% and 19% of the U.S. labor force, respectively:

Professional Employees Racial Breakdown at Five Tech Companies as of 2022

Company Percent of Black workers Percent of Latinx workers Percent of White workers Percent of Asian workers
Alphabet (Google) 4.5 6.8 38.2 46.9
Amazon 5.7 6.1 39.1 45.7
Apple 3 6.5 39.9 47.7
Meta (Facebook) 4.4 6.4 34.8 50.1
Microsoft 7 7.7 42.9 39.2
Five-company average 4.9 6.7 39 45.9

Source: 2022 EEO-1 reports. For Meta, the 2021 report was used.

The underrepresentation is even more dramatic for most women of color.

Professional Women Racial Breakdown at Five Tech Companies as of 2022

Company Percent of Black women workers Percent of Latina women workers Percent of White women workers Percent of Asian women workers
Alphabet (Google) 1.9 2.1 10.7 16.4
Amazon 2.7 2.3 12.4 15.1
Apple 1.2 2.2 10.3 14.5
Meta (Facebook) 2.1 2.3 10.7 17.7
Microsoft 2.7 2.3 12.4 14.4
Five-company average 2.1 2.2 11.3 15.6

Source: 2022 EEO-1 reports. For Meta, the 2021 report was used.

“To ensure subsidized facilities do not widen inequalities, local governments should attach equity standards to the deals,” Good Jobs First Senior Research Analyst and the report’s author Kasia Tarczynska said. “Building in long-term commitments will also ensure companies will not back out of diversity and inclusion promises when competing priorities arise, as they have since the George Floyd reckoning.”

Those include:

Hiring locally. “First-source hiring” commitments, which would require a company to consider first a targeted local pool of candidates for openings, can improve the share of jobs going to incumbent residents.

Representative hiring. Localities should require a company to submit with a subsidy application a detailed plan on how its hiring will reflect the diversity of the host locality.

Partnerships. Localities should require companies to create long-term meaningful internship and sponsorship programs for high school students from disinvested communities, helping them gain experience in the tech industry and create networking opportunities.

Strong wage and benefit standards. All workers should receive family supporting wages with benefits, including those in apprenticeship positions doing the same work as permanent positions.

Also recommended: shield school funding from tax abatements to ensure a great talent pipeline.

Said Tarczynska: “Companies must finally recognize that they too have a long-term interest in adequate and equitable public education funding and be made to pay their fair share to support these public investments in the future tech workforce.”

Read the full report.

Get it as a PDF.