Twitter Plans to Increase Diversity to Mirror Customers

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By Genevieve Douglas

Sept. 9 — Social media giant Twitter has announced plans to roll out company-wide diversity goals in 2016 so that the makeup of the company will better reflect “the vast range of people who use Twitter,” according to a blog post from Janet Van Huysse, Twitter's vice president of diversity and inclusion.

The new goals focus on increasing the overall representation of women and underrepresented minorities throughout the whole company, she wrote in her Aug. 28 blog. Doing so will “help us build a product to better serve people around the world.”

Specifically, the representation goals set for 2016 include:

• increasing female employees to 35 percent of the workforce (from 34 percent in 2015);

• increasing women in tech roles to 16 percent (from 13 percent in 2015);

• increasing women in leadership roles to 25 percent (from 22 percent in 2015);

• increasing underrepresented minorities overall to 11 percent;

• increasing underrepresented minorities in tech roles to 9 percent; and

• increasing underrepresented minorities in leadership roles to 6 percent.


Expanding Recruitment Strategies 

Van Huysse also outlined how Twitter will expand its recruitment strategies to achieve its diversity goals.

Twitter stated it is building strong partnerships with organizations that create opportunities for underrepresented minorities, such as Management Leaders of Tomorrow and #YesWeCode. Additionally, the company is actively recruiting at colleges and universities for underrepresented talent.

Specifically, Van Huysse said, Twitter will be at a number of historically black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions in the fall, in addition to meeting with student groups representing women, Hispanics and African-Americans at a larger number of campuses.

Bettina Deynes, vice president of human resources and diversity at the Society for Human Resource Management, told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 9 that “it’s never too early to make a positive impression on a potentially qualified and loyal workforce.”

Twitter also plans to refine its recruiting and hiring practices to attract more diverse candidates. For example, the company is using the job analytics software Textio to ensure its job descriptions appeal to a broad range of applicants, increasing the diversity of interview panels and posting openings where more underrepresented candidates will see them.

“For most businesses, broadening the way that you hire broadens the way that you acquire diverse workers,” Nigel Dessau, workplace consultant and chief marketing officer at software provider Stratus Technologies, told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 4. He praised Twitter's strategy, stating that the No. 1 thing that businesses need to do is look at how and where they are acquiring employees.

Diversity Seen as ‘a Must Have.'

“There’s been a big transition in the last few years from diversity being seen as a good thing to having to being seen as a must have,” Dessau said. “Where it used to be political correctness, it’s now a business necessity.”

The main driver of this change is the incoming workers from the millennial generation, Dessau said. This generation of workers is much more sensitive to working in a socially responsible, diverse organization, he said, and employers will need to accommodate how such employees want to work and with whom they want to work.

To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at

The Twitter diversity announcement is available at