EBay said on Thursday that women make up 42 per cent of its staff and 7 per cent of its US employees are black, a more diverse workforce than many other Silicon Valley technology companies.

In a report on Thursday, the e-commerce company said 24 per cent of its technical employees are female, along with 28 per cent of its leadership ranks. Of EBay's total US workforce, 5 per cent are Hispanic, while 85 per cent are white or Asian, San Jose, California-based EBay said.

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By comparison, diversity reports from Facebook, Google and Twitter disclosed that women make up about 30 per cent of staff and blacks about 2 per cent.


The wave of demographic reports follows calls for more disclosure and discussion on diversity in Silicon Valley, and the research has added fuel to the debate by showing workforces that are predominantly male and often white or Asian.

"We believe sustained commitment can make a demonstrable difference," EBay, which has more than 33,000 employees worldwide, said in a blog post. "We are far from satisfied. We will continue to strive for progress, and a stronger, better, more diverse EBay."

Women leaders

EBay, which was founded in 1995, said it has focused on diversifying with a program started three years ago called Women's Initiative Network. The effort, which seeks to attract and engage women in building long-term careers, has helped more than double the numbers in leadership roles, EBay said.

The company also has worked to recruit minorities through programs targeting blacks and Hispanic groups. The company is actively recruiting gays and lesbians, along with veterans, according to the blog post.

While blacks make up a bigger percentage of EBay's total US ranks than some other technology companies, they hold 2 per cent of leadership roles and 2 per cent of technical jobs. The data reflects the company's workforce through the end of the second quarter.

Diversity reports

Google helped start the recent spate of diversity reports when it unveiled its data about two months ago. The company said women make up 30 per cent of its staff, and hold 21 per cent of the leadership roles and 17 per cent of technical jobs. More than 90 per cent of the US staff are either white or Asian.

Laszlo Bock, Google's senior vice president of people operations, highlighted in a blog post the lack of qualified minority and female technology experts, citing a US Department of Education study that found women earn just 18 per cent of computer-science degrees in the US, and that blacks and Hispanics each collect fewer than 10 per cent of computer-science degrees.

The issue of diversity has received growing attention in the past few years. In 2013, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg highlighted the challenges facing women in leadership with her book Lean In. Still, women only make up 31 percent of the workforce at Facebook itself.

Other companies

Other companies showed greater diversity. LinkedIn's staff is 39 per cent female, and Yahoo was at 37 per cent. Closely held Web startup Pinterest's employees are 40 per cent women.

The largest technology company yet to report is Apple. Earlier this month, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the iPhone maker planned to eventually release information about the diversity of its workforce, without giving a time frame.

A group of shareholders has pressed Apple to diversify its leadership ranks and board, which has two female directors, including this month's addition of BlackRock co-founder Sue Wagner.

- Bloomberg