Netflix earlier this week released its first-ever report on diversity and inclusion within its own ranks, and while it found that it had improved in some areas, the streamer also concluded that it still had work to do.
Among the key points:
—Women make up nearly half of Netflix’s workforce, including at the leadership level where 47.8% of directors and above are women, 43.7% of vice presidents and 47.6% of senior leadership.
—Racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, including Black, LatinX or Hispanic, Indigenous, Middle Eastern, Asian and Pacific Islander, are represented among almost half of Netflix’s U.S. workforce (46.4%) and leadership at the director level or above (42%).
—While the number of Black employees doubled in the last three years to 8% of Netflix’s U.S. workforce and 9% of its leadership at the director level and above, that number is still low compared to the 13.4% of Black people who make up the U.S. population.
“The company added inclusion as a cultural value in 2017, but here’s what we found: we weren’t as great as we thought we were, or aspired to be. And over these last two years, our inclusion team has been building a foundation, sowing the seeds for inclusion to take root within the company,” wrote Verna Myers in Netflix’s inclusion report. Myers joined the company in 2018 as vice president, inclusion strategy.
Netflix Representation Numbers
To try to improve the numbers at Netflix, Myers and her team have implemented a number of strategies, including working with all employees to develop what they call an “inclusion lens,” which helps everyone to see situations from the points of view of people from other walks of life.
“Let’s be clear, we’re not where we want to be and we need to do better. We have a lot of work to do to attract more underrepresented folks to our company. So we’ve created a team and plan to do that,” Myers wrote.
Other parts of the plan include hiring more inclusively, reaching out into communities to create more access for emerging talent and building diverse networks with such organizations /dev/color, techqueria, Ghetto Film School and TalentoTotal. The Netflix team also has hosted virtual events, such as the one below, “DJs and Discussions,” dedicated to strengthening the streaming service’s connection to Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+ and Asian-American candidates.
DJs and Discussions
Internally, Netflix has created Emerging Resource Groups that people can join to connect about their shared experiences. The company has 15 of these groups, serving Latinx, veteran, Black, trans and disability communities, among others. These communities are created with the intention of cultivating space for people to celebrate shared histories and cultures, as well as to offer mentoring, career development, volunteer opportunities and more.
And in what is perhaps a more tangible change, Netflix has implemented a policy of equitable pay and inclusive benefits, which includes equal parental leave time for all new parents, regardless of their gender. Netflix also offers a family forming benefit that supports employees whether they are seeking assistance with fertility, surrogacy or adoption, as well as comprehensive transgender and non-binary health care in the U.S. It’s looking how to offer similar coverage outside of the U.S.
In addition, Netflix is working to make sure its internal inclusion and diversity efforts are also reflected in its programs. This summer, it created a Black Stories microsite that curated content from Black creators and featured Black talent telling their own stories. It also launched an initiative to move 2% of its cash holdings—or $100 million—into financial institutions that focus on serving Black communities.
Even with all of this, Netflix still found it needed to do a “much better job at recruiting Hispanic or Latinx and other underrepresented folks into all areas of our company, particularly our leadership,” the company said. Last year, Netflix hired Cassi Mecchi to lead its inclusion work in Europe, Middle East and Africa and plans to add team members in the areas of diversity and inclusion in Asia Pacific and Latin America in 2021. And finally, it plans to continue measuring its progress in these areas by tracking the entire employee experience, including retention, promotion, tenure and compensation among underrepresented employees.