Tesla’s racially diverse workforce is led mostly by white men, internal report shows

Tesla’s top leadership positions skew white and male with just 4% of those roles going to Black employees, according to the company’s first diversity and inclusion report released Friday.

The report shows that overall the company, which has factories in California, Nevada and New York, has a workforce that includes women as well as Black, Hispanic and Asian employees. Some 60% of its workforce is made up of people who are Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American and Pacific Islander. However, the vast majority of its workforce is male at 79%. That male representation ticks up to 83% when looking at leadership positions. It also gets whiter with 59% of leadership positions held by white people.

Here are some of the stats of its U.S. workforce:

  • Black employees: 10% of workforce. This group has experienced a 60% increase in representation in management with 4% holding “director level and above” roles. Some 12% of its new hires in 2020 are Black and African American, a 9% increase from the previous year. Black employees received 10% of promotions in 2020, an 11% increase from 2019.
  • Asian employees: 21% of workforce. Some 25% of Asian employees hold leadership positions.  Asian employees comprise 20% of all new hires and 23% of all promotions — a 15% increase from last year.
  • Hispanic and Latinx employees: 22% of workforce and 4% of Tesla’s Director level and above employees. Hispanic and Latinx employees represented 24% of all promotions this year — a 14% increase. About 27% of all new hires in 2020 were Hispanic and Latinx.
  • Women:  represent 21% of Tesla’s overall U.S. workforce and 23% of all promotions — a 5% increase from last year. Women hold 17% of “Director” and “Vice President” positions. In 2020, nearly 25% of all U.S. hires have been women.
  • Men: represent 79% of its workforce in the United States and hold 83% of leadership positions.
  • Veterans: represent 4% of its U.S. workforce.
  • Additional groups: a designation that Tesla gives to employees who Native American, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, and other Pacific Islander or multiracial, represent 7% of its workforce and 1% of leadership.

Tesla did not provide additional details on retention of its minority workforce, information that can provide insight into the company’s culture and whether its efforts at inclusion are successful. The report didn’t release data on how many of its employees have disabilities. And while Tesla mentions LGBTQ employees receiving support at the company, there is no breakdown of how many are employed there or hold leadership positions.

The company acknowledged it had “work to do” to improve its numbers.

“While women are historically underrepresented in the tech and automotive industries, we recognize we have work to do in this area,” the company said in its report, one of several areas it is seeking employment. The report added that Tesla is “taking active steps” to increase outreach to women and build an inclusive culture that supports their development and retention. “Increasing women’s representation at all levels, especially in leadership, is a top priority in 2021,” the report said.

Tesla listed a few efforts to attract and retain women and minorities such as recruiting at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and expanding its internship program. However, the company didn’t provide targets or a timeline to reaching its goal to improve its diversity and inclusion metrics.

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