One of Twitter’s own engineers has an issue with the company’s policy regarding diversity.
Until he left the company, Twitter Engineering Manager Leslie Miley was the only African-American engineer with a leadership position at Twitter, the microblogging service. TechCrunch reports that Miley was laid off during a round of cuts at Twitter in October but that he had already informed them that he was leaving at the end of the month anyways. Miley refused the severance package offered to him.
CNET reports that Miley, who was employed by Twitter for almost three years, wanted to change the issue with diversity and get rid of situations where he is the only African-American in higher engineering positions.
Each of these moments caused me to rethink what role I was playing at Twitter and in tech and how I could participate in dismantling what I describe as the diversity problem in tech. I want to be a leader in eliminating environments where I am the only African-American in engineering leadership.
Twitter has claimed to have a goal of 9 percent of tech jobs and 6 percent of leadership roles being held by minorities. Currently, 2 percent of its employees are African-American and 4 percent are Hispanic.
Twitter’s senior vice president of engineering, Alex Roetter, posted on Thursday that he believes that Twitter could do a better job of discussing issues of diversity and that the goal should be more minorities working for Twitter.
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. That resulted in unnecessary pain and confusion, for which I am truly sorry. We all want the same results – stronger representation of underrepresented minorities at all levels within Twitter.
Twitter also put out a statement ensuring its commitment to diversity.
This commitment includes the expansion of our inclusion and diversity programs, diversity recruiting, employee development, and resource group-led initiatives. Beyond just disclosing our workforce representation statistics, we have also publicly disclosed our representation goals for women and underrepresented minorities for 2016, making us the largest tech company to put hard numbers around its diversity commitment.
Miley claims that now that he is gone, there are no more managers, directors or vice presidents of color left in engineering at Twitter.
Twitter’s issues with growth and engagement and the issues with internal diversity are somewhat related. The over-reliance on a limited number of schools and workplaces for talent has caused a type of group think to dominate. Any change would be approved by people who all think alike.