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“The neutral period is over”: Netflix releases first inclusion report

Netflix released its first inclusion report Wednesday (Jan. 13) offering a snapshot of the company’s progress since 2017 and plans to grow representation under the leadership of Vernā Myers, VP ...
January 14, 2021

Netflix released its first inclusion report Wednesday (Jan. 13) offering a snapshot of the company’s progress since 2017 and plans to grow representation under the leadership of Vernā Myers, VP of inclusion strategy.

“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,” Myers, who joined Netflix in 2018, stated in the report.

Since 2013, Netflix has published diversity data quarterly on its jobs site.

As of October, women make up half of its workforce (47.1%), including at the leadership level: directors and above (47.8%), vice presidents (43.7%) and senior leadership (47.6%).

Nearly half of the streamer’s U.S. workforce (46.4%) and leadership (42.0%, director level and above) are made up of people from one or more underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, including Black, Latinx or Hispanic, Indigenous, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Pacific Islander backgrounds.

The number of Black employees in the U.S. doubled in the last three years to 8% of the company’s workforce and 9% of its leadership (director level and above).

“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 stated.

As part of its future plans to support representation at the company, the report states Netflix “could do a much better job at recruiting Hispanic or Latinx and other underrepresented folks” into all areas of the company, particularly in leadership positions; and that it has more to learn about topics of inclusion and representation outside of the U.S.

“We’ve started by adding Cassi Mecchi to the inclusion team to lead this work for our Europe, Middle East and Africa teams,” the report stated. “We will add team members in the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions in 2021.”

Netflix is also exploring how to measure its progress and “inclusion health,” going beyond demographics and hiring goals by looking at areas such as retention, promotion, tenure and compensation among underrepresented colleagues.

“All this work is necessary if we want to inspire cultural change in our industries, in the perspectives being heard. The neutral period is over, we need the courageous period. This work is not about perfection — it’s about humility, vulnerability and unlearning as much as it is learning. If we keep trying to get this right, a new season of equality will bloom,” Myers stated.

WORK UNDERWAY

The report delved into the work already underway at the streamer, including inclusive hiring practices, creating access for emerging talent and building diverse networks via partnerships with organizations such as /dev/color, techqueria, Ghetto Film School and TalentoTotal.

Netflix additionally has 15 employee resource groups it said serve Latinx, veteran, Black and disability communities, to name a few, by providing a “sense of inclusion and belonging”

As part of its work to ensure equitable pay, Myers wrote the streamer practices “open compensation,” meaning the top 1,000 leaders (directors and above) can see how much any employee is paid.

“This encourages open discussions about pay disparities. Outside of the transparency, our talent team routinely analyzes pay across the company to look for disparities, including an annual compensation review. In both cases, when we find pay gaps, we rectify them,” she stated.

The company also offers what it calls inclusive benefits, such as a gender-blind parental leave policy and transgender and non-binary care in U.S. health plans.

It also expanded its inclusion team with six additional individuals — the team now includes 17 members — whose remit involves serving the specific inclusion and diversity needs across different departments.

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