- Netflix released on Wednesday its first inclusion report that details its progress on diversity, the strategies that moved the needle, and where it needs to do better.
- The report showed that Netflix made big strides since 2017 in recruiting Black staffers, who now make up 8% of its full-time US workforce and 9% of its leadership team.
- The streaming company said it still needs to do better in recruiting folks from Latinx and other underrepresented groups.
- Tactics that worked for the streaming company included training executives to identify their privileges and think with an “inclusion lens,” as well as tailoring recruiting strategies for each industry.
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Netflix’s head of inclusion strategy Vernā Myers released on Wednesday the streaming company’s first inclusion report, which details its progress on diversity, the strategies that moved the needle, and where it needs to do better.
Netflix, which also publishes its diversity data every quarter, shared in the report that Black staffers made up 8% of its 8,000-person full-time US workforce as of October, up from 3.8% in 2017 and closer in line with (but still behind) the US population. Black staffers also comprised 9% of Netflix’s US leadership team, including directors and above.
Overall, 46% of Netflix’s US workforce were from underrepresented racial or ethnic backgrounds, as were 42% of its leadership.
In an industry that’s woefully behind on representation, Netflix has been praised in the last year for taking action, including moving more of its money to Black-owned banks, elevating the voices of and investing in Black creators, and continuing to diversify its leadership team and ranks.
But the company also said it needs to do better in a few key areas, including recruiting Hispanic or Latinx staffers. 8.1% of its US workforce was Hispanic or Latinx in October, up from 6% three years ago. The group’s share of Netflix’s workforce was still far behind the 18.5% of the US population that Hispanics comprise.
At the leadership level, just 4.9% of Netflix’s US execs were Hispanic or Latinx, which was about the same share in 2017.
The entertainment industry as a whole has made little-to-no progress improving Latinx representation on screen in recent years. People in the industry told Insider that improving the pipeline of Latinx content execs could help reverse those trends, as some recent Latinx-led shows like “One Day at a Time” and “Vida” succeeded partly because they had strong allies pulling for the shows.
The strategies that helped Netflix hit its recent diversity strides
Netflix’s report also unpacked some of the strategies that are helping it become a more inclusive workplace.
One was getting specific about what improvements it wanted to make and tailoring the strategy to fit each industry.
To recruit more women, Black, and Latinx talent for technical roles, for instance, Netflix’s head of inclusion for the product and technology teams, Wade Davis, organized group coaching sessions where members of the inclusion team showed the tech execs how to self-assess where they’ve historically hired from, and how they can change their habits to bring in more people from different backgrounds. Those leaders then gave the trainings to their direct reports.
The strategy is part of an overall effort to get more employees to think with an “inclusion lens,” a perspective members of the 17-person inclusion team usually bring when they sit in on meetings to help spot biases, ways a decision might impact underrepresented groups, and opportunities to embrace peoples’ differences.
The inclusion team hopes to ingrain this thinking in Netflix’s employees through various workshops. They hold workshops requiring employees to reflect on how they’ve personally experienced and perpetuated inequity, for example. Myers said she led one in 2019 for Netflix vice presidents that included an exercise in which execs had to identify their privileges, such as identifying as cisgender or white, or being without a disability.
“It was powerful to hear some of the most talented people in our industry be so vulnerable about their experiences being marginalized,” Myers wrote of the workshop.
The three areas where Netflix said it needs to do better are:
- Recruiting Hispanic or Latinx and other underrepresented talent, particularly among the exec ranks
- Learning more about inclusion outside of the US, where Netflix is building out regional inclusion teams
- Finding ways to measure progress that go beyond demographic statistics and hiring goals