23andMe was founded with a mission: to help all people access, understand, and benefit from the human genome.
An inclusive, equitable workplace is essential to that mission. While our company is based on the recognition that we’re all linked by a common genetic thread, we celebrate our differences. We know that unique experiences and perspectives fuel innovation and create solutions that work for everyone.
We developed a four-pillar framework two years ago to guide and advance our diversity efforts. As part of these efforts, we committed to annually sharing our hiring and staff composition data and highlighting areas where we’ve fallen short.
The latest numbers suggest that our staff is becoming more diverse. Twenty percent of our new hires come from communities where we traditionally lack representation. In our workforce, women comprise 46 percent of our STEM positions and more than half of our non-STEM employees.
But the numbers also show that we still have work to do. We saw fewer employees identifying as Latinx and increased attrition rates among other underrepresented groups so far in 2022, including Black employees.
New Hires and Workforce Representation
In 2021, we set a goal to ensure that 20 percent of our new hires come from communities where we lack representation. We’re proud to say we reached that goal.
We saw an increase in the overall representation of underrepresented groups within our workforce, with the total percentage increasing from 12.5 percent to 13.7 percent. However, we also identified a decrease in the Latinx group due to attrition.
We also made modest progress in our leadership ranks, especially with regard to representation from underrepresented groups.
Building a Pipeline
We’re committed to continuing this momentum by investing in programs and partnerships that help attract diverse job candidates and grow our talent pool.
We’ve partnered with SACNAS, a non-profit dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in STEM. We attend their annual conferences and have hosted panels for graduate student members of SACNAS who are interested in moving from academia to industry.
And each year, we invite Bay Area high school students from StreetCode Academy to visit our company and learn more about our work.
We’re paying close attention to how we assess talent at each step of the hiring process.
We’ve increased candidate referral bonuses and assembled diverse interview panels. And we’ve recently added a Diversity Recruiting Program Manager who will oversee our hiring goals.
Renewed Focus on Retention
We’re not just interested in attracting talent; we’re also committed to ensuring our employees stay and thrive. Though we’ve made progress in hiring, our retention numbers aren’t where we want them to be. We’re sharing this information with our leaders so they are better positioned to be deliberate about retention efforts.
We’ve implemented several policies to address this and have leveraged new resources to improve the employee experience. We’ve maximized our remote work options and are revisiting relocation and education reimbursement benefits. And our 10 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are instrumental in creating inclusion and a sense of belonging.
Expanding our Definition of Diversity
We acknowledge that this data set only shows diversity through the lens of race and ethnicity. We’re committed to expanding our data to include demographics such as age and disability. This will help to give us a more complete picture of our workforce.
Going forward, we’ll continue to approach diversity, equity, and inclusion in the same way we approach scientific discovery: as a work in progress that requires continual collaboration, rigor, creativity, and accountability.
As our CEO Anne Wojcicki wrote in 2020, “The best thing we can do is lead by example and impact all the lives connected to 23andMe. That means looking at our culture, evaluating our partnerships, and taking a deeper look at our product. In the spirit of our core values, ‘we will make mistakes, but we will learn from them and keep blazing forward.’”