Amazon an Old Boys’ Club?
With all the acclaim that Amazon.com receives for being an innovative, bleeding-edge technology company/online retailer, it may come as somewhat of a surprise that its workforce is primarily composed of white men. Without knowing any better, I would have thought that the online retail giant had a more diversified workforce.
Last Friday, Amazon — under pressure from civil rights leaders — released the gender and racial makeup of its workforce. Here are the numbers:
- 63 percent of its workers and 75 percent of managers around the world are men;
- 60 percent of its U.S. workforce is white, 15 percent is black, 13 percent is Asian, 9 percent is Hispanic and 3 percent is "other";
- 71 percent of Amazon's U.S. managers are white, 18 percent are Asian, 4 percent are Hispanic, 4 percent are black and 3 percent are other.
Amazon isn't alone in having a predominantly white, male workforce, however. A report released in August from some of Silicon Valley's largest companies — Apple, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, eBay — revealed that they too lack gender and ethnic diversity, especially within their executive ranks.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been outspoken about the importance of diversifying the company's workforce, but others leaders have failed to follow suit. Amazon said that it's formed partnerships with groups to help bring more women and minorities into technology.
Gender and ethnic inequality in the workforce is nothing new, but a bit surprising in the retail industry, where women are often the primary customers. According to a recent Demos report, female retail workers in the U.S. continue to work for less pay than their male counterparts. Female retail workers earn just $10.58 an hour on average, compared to $14.62 an hour for male retail workers.
Amazon announced last month that it was adding 80,000 seasonal workers for the holidays, primarily at its fulfillment and sortation centers. While these lower-wage positions are more likely to be filled by minorities, it's a start. Amazon did make known that it offers full-time positions to thousands of seasonal workers after the holidays are over.