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November 9, 2015

Twitter admits to diversity ‘blind spots’, promises new initiatives & training

News: Last week, a former Twitter employee left the company due to the company's lack of diversity.

By CBR Staff Writer

Twitter’s Alex Roetter, senior vice president of engineering, has pledged to speed company diversity after an African American engineer publicly criticised the company’s approach to the issue.

Last week, Twitter’s engineering manager Leslie Miley expressed his concerns over the company’s diversity, saying it did not reflect the diversity of thought, conversation, and people in its ranks.

Miley quit Twitter amid the claims, saying that there was very little diversity in thought and almost no diversity in action at the company.

Miley wrote a post on blog-publishing platform Medium, stating that he was asked to build a tool to analyse candidates last names for classifying their ethnicity.

He said: "As an engineer, I understand this suggestion and why it may seem logical. However, classifying ethnicities by name is problematic as evidenced by my name.

"What I also found disconcerting is this otherwise highly sophisticated thinker could posit that an issue this complex could be addressed by name analysis."

Responding to Miley’s claims, Roetter said: "I realise that we have blind spots, myself included.

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"I want Twitter to be a place where all employees feel comfortable raising questions about diversity. That hasn’t always been the case, which is unacceptable."

Roetter unveiled several measures Twitter is putting in place to improve the workplace for minorities, including compulsory inclusion training and professional gatherings focused on underrepresented groups such as the society of hispanic professional engineers.

As part of its diversity goals, Twitter is planning to increase the share of female employees to 35% by next year.

The company aims to fill 16% of its technology jobs with women next year, up from 13% currently.

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