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McClatchy-Tribune  08/20/2014 8:36 PM ET
Biz Break: Pandora overwhelmingly white, close to gender equality [San Jose Mercury News :: ]

Aug. 20--Today: Pandora Media releases workforce diversity data that shows Oakland's largest tech company to be more than 70 percent white and nearly equal along gender lines.

The Lead: Pandora's workforce largely white, gender-balanced

Oakland's largest tech company is overwhelmingly white, even when compared with Silicon Valley tech companies headquartered in less diverse cities, but is nearly equally staffed by women and men, Pandora Media publicly revealed Wednesday.

The online radio pioneer said its overall workforce is 70.9 percent white, the highest percentage by far among 10 large, public Silicon Valley technology companies that have released such information in recent weeks. The next highest percentage of white employees belongs to Google and eBay, both of which recorded 61 percent white workers.

When compared with the heavily diverse city of Oakland in which it is headquartered, Pandora's results seem even more skewed. Whites made up only 34.5 percent of Oakland residents, according to 2010 census figures, while blacks and Hispanics each made up more than a quarter of the population and Asians accounted for 16.8 percent.

At Pandora, 3 percent of employees are black, 7.2 percent are Hispanic, and 12.3 percent are Asian.

"When I think about all the different kinds of people who are listening to Pandora across the globe, our employees should look like them," Pandora founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren said in a blog post published Wednesday on LinkedIn. "The diversity of our audience and artists are a great benchmark for us to use as we evaluate our own company. And it's clear there's work to be done."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose Rainbow PUSH Coalition has helped to chide Silicon Valley tech companies into publicly disclosing the data, noted that Pandora is the smallest company to reveal the statistics, with a workforce barely topping 1,000 as of its most recent annual report. However, he also pointed out that its employees are predominantly not working in technical fields. giving Pandora a wider field of potential workers from which to choose.

"As your workforce is 75 percent non-tech, there should be a strong pathway and few impediments to identifying and employing qualified blacks and Latinos from the local community and around the country so Pandora can reflect its user and consumer base," Jackson said in a statement.

Pandora's tech workforce is actually less white than in non-tech positions, thanks to a heavier percentage of Asian workers: 62.1 percent of tech workers are white, while 73.4 percent of non-tech workers identify as Caucasian.

Pandora's workforce is the most balanced in terms of gender among the companies that have released data, with women making up more than 49 percent of its workforce; eBay had the highest percentage of female workers before Pandora among public companies, with 42 percent. While the percentage of females in leadership positions was just 38.8 percent, that was still ahead of the other companies that have reported, with Intuit next at 37 percent.

SV150 market report: Tech stocks dip ahead of Hewlett-Packard earnings

Silicon Valley tech stocks suffered a slight decline despite gains in the overall market Wednesday, before the second largest technology company in the Bay Area released its earnings report.

Hewlett-Packard managed to boost its sales for the first time in nearly four years thanks to an increase in consumer sales of personal computers. HP missed internal and external expectations for profits with net income of $1 billion, or 52 cents a share, on better-than-expected sales of $27.6 billion. A year-over-year revenue gain of 1 percent was the first after 11 consecutive quarters of declines, as the Palo Alto tech giant experienced the same surge in PC sales that helped boost Santa Clara chipmaker Page 12Next Page


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