Silicon Valley has long come under fire for its lack of diversity, largely because its version of entrepreneurship has always been accessible only to a select and privileged few. Indiegogo was founded to change that – we believe deeply that anyone should have a chance to bring their ideas to life, and we think the people on our team should be just as diverse as the ideas on our platform.
Simply declaring a commitment to diversity is easy, and we wanted to make sure that the changes we made were working. So, in 2014 we were one of the first (and probably the smallest) company that started publishing our demographics. It was an effort to bring some transparency into our efforts to improve diversity at Indiegogo, and hopefully inspire other companies to do the same.
Last year, we published an update to our original diversity and inclusion numbers, and committed to continue to share them every year to hold ourselves accountable to continued progress. We hope to help guide this conversation in the tech industry so that we can all learn from each other to make the ecosystem in which we work more inclusive.
Before we share the numbers, we want to make it very clear that we had to create demographic categories in order to measure our progress, and they are by no means perfect. Gender and ethnicity cannot be narrowed down to a few standardized choices, and our intention is not to reduce their complexity or importance.
On to the numbers
According to the numbers, our efforts have been working. Overall, Indiegogo diversity has steadily improved since we began sharing these statistics in 2014. Since just last year. we are now officially a majority-female company; we’ve seen an increase in women in leadership, tech, and non-tech roles across the company. We’ve also seen more ethnic diversity in different roles throughout the company, particularly in tech positions. Asian and hispanic/latino representation both increased, but unfortunately this was not the case with black representation, and we are addressing this in our efforts to bring on new team members.
No man, or company, is an island, so we were curious to see how our numbers compared up with those of other companies with more resources. Based on what we found, we have the highest representation of women in the entire tech industry – even in leadership positions.
So, how did we do it?
As we’ve said time and time again, as a platform built to make entrepreneurship more accessible for all kinds of people and make the world a more inclusive place, we want and need our team to be diverse and inclusive too. Early in our history, Danae Ringelmann, one of our co-founders developed a Values Blueprint to guide us in this mission: fearlessness, empowerment, authenticity and collaboration. These may sound simply like lofty words, but they were carefully chosen to ensure that we always bring our whole selves to work, and encourage our teammates to do the same. Every day, we share diverse perspectives, challenge assumptions, and support new ideas. In order to keep building on a culture that celebrates and cherishes diversity, we have made these values an integral part of of our recruiting and hiring processes, new employee onboarding, annual reviews, and real-time peer feedback.
The first thing we look for in a new employee is alignment with our values, and we realized that if we wanted to bring in new people who share these values, our team is the best place to look. This year, we revamped our recruiting processes and renewed our focus on employee referrals because we knew that our wonderfully diverse team would bring in not only talented new members, but those who would both fit in with and enhance our culture. As a result of increasing referral bonuses and regularly announcing job openings, our employee referrals went up 115%, and brought in 39% of new hires in 2017. And things went even better than we expected. Of the hires that came from our team’s network, 71% were female, and 59% were ethnically diverse.
This culture of inclusiveness also helps us avoid the “leaky bucket” problem that many other companies face. While they may use their ample resources to recruit and hire diverse candidates, those candidates don’t always step into a culture that makes them want to stay. In the last year we’ve actually had fewer women leave than men, because we are committed to making sure that everyone feels welcome. Our Diversity and Inclusion Group has helped us be intentional in our constant efforts to make Indiegogo an inclusive place to work for everyone. Thanks to them, we have a constant dialogue on what’s working and what isn’t, trainings to explore and educate our team on how to embrace different identifies, and an amazing calendar of events that celebrate diversity.
While we’re incredibly happy about the progress we’ve made in building a team as diverse as the world we live in, there is still work to do. We’re excited to share our updates again next year. We want to hear from you with any ideas about how we can keep making Indiegogo an even more inclusive place to work.