At Quizlet, we are excited to publish our annual updates on our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts, just as we’ve done over the past three years. 2020 has been a year to remember, to say the least. Quizlet has always been committed to building a company of belonging and, especially with this year’s world events, we are driven to amplify our efforts both internally and externally.
A new level of awareness has emerged in regard to systemic racism and experiences of unjust behavior towards people of color, in and out of the workplace. Current events prompted an open dialogue at Quizlet that led us to ask ourselves questions on how we can do our part to ensure we don’t fall under the umbrella of systemic racism and, as a consumer learning company, review our own product capabilities and ensure we’re providing access to helpful and educational information that encourages equity and inclusion.
Internally, we’ve taken important steps this year to ensure our DEI efforts and processes are pushing us closer to our goal of a truly diverse workforce, with a continued focus on growing both our number of women in technology roles and underrepresented minorities (URM).
First, we continue to set goals directly related to diversity within our recruiting. Foundational to any successful team, being mindful of how we source candidates and recruit them is crucial for creating a diverse pipeline of candidates, and that includes participating in a variety of recruiting events that expand our reach to an incredible pool of talented and diverse individuals.
Second, we introduced a DEI Council that is dedicated to assist and advise Quizlet in developing an inclusive workplace and culture that values the diversity of thought and perspective. Our Council is a collaboration made up of an executive sponsor and employees throughout the organization, with support from our People Operations team. Our vision of introducing this Council is to have Quizlet be recognized as a model organization for how to execute on diversity, equity and inclusion as reflected by our employees, community members and external partners. Our Council is currently working on short and long term goals to introduce to the company in efforts to prioritize DEI at Quizlet.
Third, we’ve continued our training efforts to reinforce our inclusive and supportive culture. As our company grows, we want to ensure we continue to learn about implicit and explicit bias, along with best practices for inclusion and belonging. These trainings spark great conversations and help refresh our leadership and management teams on recognizing ways to improve how we operate as a team.
Lastly, we’ve added to our Employee Resource Groups, known as Quizlet Communities, which help support employees and empower their specific communities through education and volunteering efforts. We have continued to support our Women’s group, along with introducing our latest community, ¡Hola!, supporting Latinos at Quizlet. In the coming year, we hope to continue to grow our list of Communities and expand our volunteer opportunities to help activate awareness and action around cultural competency. And to support retention, we’ll continue offering connections and providing safe spaces for underrepresented employees.
In addition to our internal efforts this year, externally we introduced our Be the Change initiative. In partnership with leading organizations, including Teaching Tolerance, Newsela and others, we’re offering studiable content that helps students and their teachers learn about the history and experiences of marginalized groups in the U.S., including people of color, Indigenous peoples and the LGBTQ+ community. As a company that supports millions of people learning, we want to be the change we want to see in the world, and we know that education is an important part of that equation.
Building a diverse workforce starts by setting goals that we are able to benchmark. While the technology industry is seeing women’s participation in software development roles continue to trend downward, with Built In in reporting the number of female software engineers increasing just 2% over the last 20 years, we’re excited to see a different story here at Quizlet.
We’ve increased our overall women in technology roles by six percentage points from 33% to 39%. In fact, we’ve nearly doubled our percentage of women in technology roles since 2017 when we first made this a focused priority, when women were at 22% of our tech workforce. Also, our women in engineering, specifically, is now at 32% and we look forward to continuing to prioritize our efforts in the coming year to ensure we can achieve our long term goal of closing the gap between male and female engineers.
We are happy to share that 36% of our management team are females. And we’ve maintained 33% women as technical managers, which we originally reported last year.
We are also happy to share that underrepresented minorities (URM) at Quizlet are now 12% of our workforce, up from 9% at the beginning of the year. However, this number is nowhere close to the diversity we ultimately want, so we are focused heavily on continuing to grow our efforts to attract and retain amazing colleagues, leveraging what we’ve outlined here as just the start.
As we look ahead to next year, we know there is work to be done to continue to drive change in our organization. These efforts are critical to making Quizlet the inclusive and innovative company we strive to be. We look forward to prioritizing and pushing our new initiatives to get us to where we want to be -- a model for other companies in our communities and most importantly, a company where our employees feel they belong and are empowered to make a true impact.