Glenn Kelman, the CEO of Seattle-based Redfin, posted a revealing look Tuesday at the real estate company’s own data related to how it does when it comes to race, ethnicity and gender diversity among its employees.
The analysis sheds light on the emphasis Redfin is putting on trying to employ and promote women and members of minority groups across the company in various departments. Kelman shares a number of data points and goes on to express his hope that the traditionally white real estate profession can be diversified by the internet and Redfin, an internet-powered broker.
Kelman opens his post by comparing where the company left off in 2015 when it comes to the representation of women and men at Redfin. The percentage of Redfin engineers, product managers and designers who are female increased from 25 percent last year to 30 percent in 2016, according to the post. Kelman cites a Wall Street Journal chart on diversity at tech companies in mentioning the female workforces at both Facebook (16 percent) and Apple (22 percent).
Other female employees at Redfin headquarters include those in business operations, who are 58 percent female, matching the company’s overall female representation. In the real estate arm of the company, Redfin is 62 percent female, whereas 58 percent of the National Association of Realtors is female, Kelman writes.
Kelman says Redfin is putting extra emphasis on recruiting women in its research and development departments — software developers, designers, product managers, operations engineers, and quality assurance engineers — with a 2020 goal of having women be half of the technical hires.
Diversity is a movement that is gaining momentum — at least when it comes to people even talking about it — across the traditionally male-dominated tech sector. Melinda Gates, for one, has made getting more women into tech a primary focus of her new organization, Pivotal Ventures. And giants like Microsoft and Amazon have taken the step recently of disclosing employee pay equity numbers — though some argue that moving more women into leadership positions is the more vital next step.
Kelman writes that there is no significant difference between the pay of men and women at Redfin, but says the company does want to see more women in management.
“The percentage of managers who are female is 44 percent in the overall business as well as in field operations, 53 percent in business operations, and 30 percent in R&D. Overall, we expect women’s representation in management to be proportional to their representation within that department,” Kelman says.
When it comes to race and ethnicity at Redfin, Kelman breaks down the representation of whites, blacks, hispanics and other minority groups at the company as compared to the U.S. population and the National Association of Realtors.
Kelman writes at length about his belief that the internet will have an impact on diversity in real estate.
“With the Internet driving demand and customers making data-driven choices, an internet-powered brokerage should in short do much better — better than other brokerages, but also better than Redfin today — at bringing Hispanics, blacks, Asians and other folks from underrepresented groups into the real estate profession,” Kelman says. “The impact should be better service for folks of all colors, and more integrated communities.”
While Kelman says Redfin must do better at getting more agents from underrepresented groups, he also notes that the company can do better at diversifying technology and business operations teams.
“These two groups have a higher proportion of Asians than the field organization, but our R&D team is only 1 percent black and 2 percent Hispanic,” Kelman writes. “With an R&D department that is 54 percent white, we are comparable to the R&D teams of other technology companies.”
He says the real challenge is in developing and promoting people of color to management positions, where 82 percent of Redfin managers are white, well above the 73 percent of employees who are white.
Kelman concludes by bullet-pointing what the company has done to address the issues so far and what it plans to do going forward. He lists steps that include: evaluating the annual review process for bias; reviewing and updating R&D interviewing best practices, to uncover and address bias; expanding the People of Color in Tech from Redfin’s San Francisco office to its Seattle office; and more.
“There is much more to do on this front,” Kelman says. “Especially in adopting some of the tactics now being pioneered by our R&D department, and much more to say, but this is where we’re starting.”
Read the full blog post at Redfin.com.