date icon November 19, 2019 category icon Press Releases

Internet Industry Releases First Ever Industry-Wide Workforce Diversity Report

Washington, DC Internet Association (IA) today released the industry’s inaugural Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Benchmark Report, providing first-of-its-kind workforce data for companies in the internet industry. The report goes beyond traditional workforce data and examines current practices among IA member companies that vary in age, size, and business model to understand the current landscape of historically underrepresented populations in the workforce, and inform industry best practices to improve D&I efforts.

IA member companies recognize the importance of improving the diversity of its workforce to better reflect the internet community and society at large. IA created the role of Director of D&I Policy and Counsel to spearhead internet companies’ collaboration among each other, with policymakers, and other key stakeholders. This report builds on the industry’s commitment to foster an industry-wide understanding of the diversity landscape among its workforce and provides evidence-based best practices to inform future D&I policies. 

The internet industry’s D&I Benchmark Report found: 

  • The majority of IA member companies have an appointed D&I head with direct reports and dedicated D&I budgets. 
  • Internet companies with dedicated D&I budgets have a higher representation of women and underrepresented groups. 
  • Internet companies struggle to retain talent from underrepresented groups as they grow and age. Yet, as the companies mature, representation of women increases. 

“No one company can tackle diversity and inclusion issues on their own, so it’s important to change our focus on this issue, as an industry, from a competitive lens to a collaborative one,” said IA President & CEO Michael Beckerman. “Collective action from the industry is necessary to pave a way forward for established internet companies that must continue to retain diverse talent, and for companies just starting out that may have more limited resources to attract diverse talent.” 

The report looked at IA members’ D&I practices at all levels of their organizations, including rank and file employees, executive teams, and board members. Efforts around hiring and retention, tracking third-party supplier spend, developing employee resource groups (ERGs), recruiting from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and the implementation of the Rooney Rule were all examined as part of the report. 

“The internet industry is young. Our members on average are under 10 years old, and there are many lessons and best practices that can be shared among each other to improve overall D&I efforts,” said Sean Perryman, IA Director, Diversity & Inclusion Policy and Counsel. “This report helps us gain an industry-wide understanding of the current workforce landscape, and enables us to develop evidence-based standards and best practices that help further diversify the internet industry’s workforce.” 

IA members recognize the moral and financial imperative of having a workforce that reflects the diversity of the community and its users. Companies understand their platforms and services would not thrive without the perspective of the diverse employees and users who use their experiences to perform more effectively, create more innovative products, and help shape policies. IA members recognize that more work remains to be done to address this important issue, and will continue to invest in resources and partnerships to help promote diversity and inclusivity in the workforce.

To read IA’s D&I Benchmark Report report, click here.

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What They’re Saying About IA’s Inaugural D&I Benchmark Report

Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) and Congressman Bradley Byre (AL-1), HBCU Caucus Co-Chairs: “We applaud the Internet Association for the commission of their first Diversity and Inclusion Benchmark Report. The HBCU Partnership Challenge stresses the importance of implementing intentional policies that increase the recruitment and retention of diverse talent in America’s workforce through substantive engagement with HBCUs — one of our nation’s largest producers of diverse talent. Keeping thorough data on the success of these efforts is crucial to creating best practices that can be replicated across industry. It is our hope that the findings of this survey will encourage others to lean in and develop initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in our economy.”

Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), Congressional Black Caucus Diversity Task Force Co-Chair: “There is a fact-based imperative for diversity and inclusion. The lack of diverse representation means that many of our best and brightest – the problem solvers, critical thinkers, and those that challenge conventional thinking are not included, and America’s global competitiveness suffers as a result. I have been proud to work in Congress to respond to this disparity but still, much work needs to be done. I commend the Internet Association for showing leadership in promoting the need and importance of diversity and inclusion. It is my hope that other companies will be able to use this D&I Benchmark Report to guide them as they not only recognize the need for D&I, but to also put their efforts and resources into ensuring diversity recruitment goals are met and retention of employees is prioritized.” 

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-05), Tech Accountability Caucus Co-Chair: “The lack of diversity in the tech industry remains a concerning issue. We know that without the perspective, opinions, and life experiences of people from all walks of life, we open the door to subconscious or unintentional biases that can negatively affect products and services used by Americans. Creating the broad changes necessary to promote greater workforce diversity, something I’ve been actively pushing for in Congress, requires a baseline set of data. I applaud the Internet Association’s willingness to take on this endeavor, as well as their eagerness to engage with policymakers and industry stakeholders to create this report. I’m hopeful that companies will look at this report and take this opportunity to implement diversity and inclusion best practices, which strengthen the industry as a whole. This is an important step and I look forward to future engagement.”

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (TX-29): “I welcome the release of the Internet Association’s first-ever Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Benchmark Report. The information on best practices and efficacy of D&I efforts are a helpful step forward, but we know more needs to be done. Companies must move boldly with investments to address the huge lack of diversity in the industry. As policy makers, we remain committed to advancing these efforts and to increasing accountability across the industry.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Congressional Black Caucus Diversity Task Force Co-Chair: “I welcome the release of the Internet Association’s first-ever Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Benchmark Report. The information on best practices and efficacy of D&I efforts are a helpful step forward, but we know more needs to be done. Companies must move boldly with investments to address the huge lack of diversity in the industry. As policy makers, we remain committed to advancing these efforts and to increasing accountability across the industry.”

Stephanie Rodriguez, Ph.D., VP Policy & Engagement, AnitaB.org: “AnitaB.org commends the Internet Association and all of its members on the release of the inaugural IA Diversity & Inclusion Benchmark Report. As the entire technology ecosystem strives for a more equitable and inclusive environment—for both moral and business imperatives—specific sectors have the opportunity to show their leadership and share best practices. Importantly this report calls attention to understanding how money is invested in D&I as an emerging practice across internet companies. Measuring what matters and acting to address gaps and opportunities is critical to drive tech equity in all of technology, and we applaud this effort.”

Dr. Harry L. Williams, President and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF): “The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) commends the Internet Association for undertaking this study and, more importantly, releasing the results of that work in the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Benchmark Report. The results of the report bear witness to what we, at TMCF, have long-known, that companies who invest and commit to diversity and inclusion have proven success in meeting their desired results.  Diverse and inclusive organizations are frequently stronger and more dynamic organizations, and we hope that this report helps encourage more companies within the industry to make a formal commitment to D&I and that the Internet Association will keep us abreast on the progress their constituency is making in this regard.”

To view What They’re Saying About IA’s D&I Benchmark Report, click here.

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