raceAhead: Spotify's Diversity Report Breaks Some New Ground

Spotify, the music streaming service, has published a new diversity data report, which is based on information gathered through internal surveys as of June 2018. It’s their second such survey, after a two-year gap.

At a glance, their numbers seem promising.

My colleague and RaceAhead‘s editor Grace Donnelly has been working overtime breaking down the data. From her analysis:

The company increased Asian representation to 14.8%, Black representation to 6.1%, and mixed raced representation to 2.7% in the last two years. White employees make up half of their workforce, while Latinx employees account for 5.5%.

Spotify saw increases across all under-represented employee groups, according to the report. Because this data covers a two-year jump, it’s not fair to compare them directly with annual diversity reports that reflect year-over-year changes. That said, the representation of minority groups among Spotify’s employees is closer to percentages in the US population than tech industry averages.

According to the company, their rapid growth – they’ve grown from about 300 workers in 2011 to more than 3,000 by early 2018 – gave them an opportunity to put systems in place that would lead to greater employee retention and a more inclusive workplace. “We want to be a leader in this space,” Isa Notermans, the company’s head of diversity and inclusion told Fortune. “Serving 1 million creators and also 1 billion users? We can’t do that without thinking outside the box,” she said.

The company has been “making bets” on inclusive projects, like overhauling their recruiting and interview processes, rather than setting quotas, with many ideas coming from their 13 employee resource groups. And to their credit, they’re thinking about how algorithmic bias may also be impacting user experience. “The goal moving forward is to integrate [diversity and inclusion work] into all aspects of our business,” says Notermans.

Music to your ears? Click here for more. You can find Spotify’s diversity report here.

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