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‘Work From Anywhere’ Helped Twitter Boost Black, Latinx Hires

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(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc.’s early shift to a “work from anywhere” model during the pandemic as well as implementation of a requirement to add more people of color to final job candidate slates helped the social media company post significant gains last year in hiring Black and Latinx employees.

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The share of Black workers among the U.S. workforce jumped to 9.4% in 2021 from 6.9% a year earlier, and Latinx workers to 8% of employees from 5.5%, the company said Wednesday. Twitter didn’t disclose how many workers the improvement represents or the current size of the U.S. workforce. In the third quarter, the company had 7,100 workers globally.

“In an all-virtual environment there are very few limitations to where we can show up to meet talent as a company,” said James Loduca, Twitter vice president of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility. “We were able to hire folks in markets that we know have high populations of Black talent, markets that we know have high populations of Latinx talent.”

Companies have been under pressure to show improvement in hiring of under-represented workers since the 2020 murder of George Floyd by police. Twitter is among companies that have set new diversity goals and made commitments to close gaps in equity.

Twitter in 2020 promised that women would make up half the workforce and under-represented groups would be 25% of the U.S. workforce by 2025. Women were 44.7% of the global workforce in 2021. The total share of under-represented workers will be updated along with first-quarter financial results, Loduca said. Executive pay is now determined in part by how they meet those diversity goals.

Twitter also required last year that the final slate of job candidates for positions above entry-level roles in the U.S. include at least three people, and that group had to have at least one woman and one person of color, Loduca said. He compared Twitter’s guidelines with the “ Rooney Rule” in the National Football League that requires teams with top coaching vacancies to consider at least one Black candidate.

Twitter has said many workers never have to return to the office and can “work from anywhere” even after the pandemic ends. Leveraging virtual recruiting, the company last year sought new hires in places such as Africa and South America globally. In the U.S., it also targeted South Florida, Texas and Southern California — places it wanted to expand relationships with so-called Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Loduca said.

Black workers were more than twice as likely to accept a job from Twitter compared with the prior year, and for Latinx applicants there was nearly a fivefold improvement, Twitter said.

This year, Loduca said Twitter will expand initiatives to improve hiring of Latinx workers. Hispanic people make up about 18.7% of the population, according to the 2020 U.S. Census.

(Updates 7th paragraph with additional information on HSIs.)

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