Amazon sets 2021 diversity goals and releases new workforce data on gender and race

Images of Amazon’s Seattle, Washington, campus, in both the downtown and South Lake Union neighborhoods. (JORDAN STEAD / Amazon)

The news: Amazon released new data on the racial and gender makeup of its workforce and outlined plans to increase the number of Black and women employees at the company.

The data: As of Dec. 31, women make up 31.4% of U.S. corporate employees, up 1.4% from 2019. Black employees make up 7.2%, up from 5.4%. White employees make up 47%, down from 48.4%; Asian employees make up 34.8%, down from 36.2%; and LatinX workers make up 7.5%, up from 6.6%.

The gaps widen for U.S. senior leaders — 22.8% are women, up from 21.1% in 2019. Black employees make up 3.8% of senior leaders, up from 1.9%. White employees make up 70.7%, down from 73.9%; Asian employees make up 20%, up from 19.8%; and LatinX workers make up 3.9%, up from 2.9%.

The gaps shrink for Amazon’s workforce at all levels; a majority of its 1.3 million employees globally work outside the office and inside fulfillment centers or other parts of the company’s sprawling logistics network.

2021 goals: Amazon wants to double the number of Black directors and vice presidents this year and increase the number of women in senior technical jobs by 30%, among other goals. The company said it met its goal in 2020 to double the number of Black directors and vice presidents. It will also “inspect any statistically significant demographic differences” for performance ratings, attrition, and low performance actions.

“This is some of the most important work we have ever done, and we are committed to building a more inclusive and diverse Amazon for the long term,” Amazon HR chief Beth Galetti wrote to employees on Wednesday.

Amazon’s “race problem”: Vox reported in February that Black employees at Amazon are promoted less frequently and rated more harshly than peers. Last month, a Black manager sued Amazon for alleged race and gender discrimination.

For comparison: Microsoft released its own diversity numbers in October. Women represent 28.6% of Microsoft’s global workforce, up from 25.5% three years ago; and 20% of the company’s executive and partner-level positions, up from 15.8% three years earlier.

Black and African American employees at Microsoft rose by 0.3 percentage points over the past year, to 4.9%; and represent about 2.9% of executive and partner-level positions, up 0.2 percentage points from the year before.

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