PayPal CEO: We still have a lot of work to do on diversity

JP Mangalindan
Chief Tech Correspondent

PayPal (PYPL) announced its 2017 employee diversity data on Wednesday, and the results were largely promising.

Although the percentage of female employees at PayPal still hovers around 43% — significantly higher than at tech companies such as Apple (AAPL), 32%, or Facebook (FB), 35%— the company reported a 20% year-over-year increase in the number of women at the vice president level or above. Promotions for female employees also climbed 13% year-over-year, while 45% of the PayPal board is now composed of women and underrepresented ethnic groups thanks to new additions over the last 12 months, including Belinda Johnson, chief business affairs and legal officer of Airbnb, and Ann Sarnoff, president of BBC Worldwide North America.

PayPal also announced the number of underrepresented ethnic groups in technical roles increased by 3% last year to 9% this year.

“I’m proud of the progress that we’re making, but we still have a ton of room to grow,” PayPal CEO Dan Schulman told Yahoo Finance in an interview at the company’s San Jose, California, headquarters recently. “Until you basically have an even amount of diversity that’s representative of populations, you haven’t completed that mission yet.”

“I’m proud of the progress that we’re making, but we still have a ton of room to go,” PayPal CEO Dan Schulman told Yahoo Finance. Source: Yahoo Finance

To be clear, Silicon Valley as a whole has a long way to go in terms of diversity, despite efforts at many companies to improve hiring and retention practices. To wit, according to new research published earlier this month by the non-profit Ascend Foundation, African American and Hispanic representation at tech companies is actually declining, save for a few exceptions such as PayPal and Facebook.

For Schulman, increasing PayPal’s employee diversity and inclusiveness isn’t just the “right thing to do.” He also believes it creates diversity of thought and innovation.

“That’s just the DNA I grew up with,” Schulman contended. “My mom pushed me in a baby carriage at Martin Luther King rallies. My grandfather was a union organizer. And to me, there is no room—no room—for discrimination of any kind. To me, it’s just an anathema.”

JP Mangalindan is a senior correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Email story tips and musings to jpm@oath.com. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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