Tesla publishes its first-ever diversity report revealing leadership is 83% male and 59% White


Vehicles pass the Tesla Inc. assembly plant in Fremont, California, U.S., on Monday, May 11, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Elon Musk’s electric car and renewable energy company published its first ever diversity report late Friday. It said that Tesla has a “majority minority” U.S. workforce overall, but 83% of employees in leadership roles are men and 59% are White.

According to research by the Boston Consulting Group, companies with more diverse leadership teams report higher innovation revenue. And increasingly, publicly-traded companies are required to disclose more information about the makeup of their workforce, and to add people from diverse backgrounds to their boards.

Tesla’s inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Impact Report offers fewer details than diversity reports from major tech firms including Google and Apple, which began publishing demographic information about their workforce back in 2014. However, because Tesla makes cars, software and energy products, it is difficult to compare it to peers in tech or autos.

Tesla did reveal some big-picture analysis of their current U.S. workforce. Here are some highlights:

  • Men at Tesla represented approximately: 79% of the workforce, 83% of leadership, 75% of new hires, and 77% of promotions in 2020.
  • Women at Tesla represented approximately: 21% of the workforce, 17% of leadership, 25% of new hires, and 23% of all promotions in 2020.
  • Black and African American employees at Tesla represented approximately: 10% of the workforce, 4% of leadership, 12% of new hires, and 10% of promotions in 2020.
  • Asian employees at Tesla represented approximately: 21% of the workforce, 25% of leadership, 20% of new hires, and 23% of promotions in 2020.
  • Hispanic and Latino or Latina employees represented approximately: 22% of the workforce, 4% of leadership, 27% of new hires and 24% of promotions in 2020.
  • White employees represented approximately: 34% of the workforce, 59% of leadership, 32% of new hires, 35% of promotions in 2020.

Tesla counted people from Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native communities as part of an “Additional Groups” category.

  • Employees in Tesla’s “Additional Groups” category represented approximately: 7% of the workforce and 1% of leadership.

Tesla’s debut diversity report did not break out how many of its employees identified as having a disability. Also, the gender-related data is approximate as Tesla did not include figures on non-binary and gender non-conforming employees.

The report also lacks a discussion of employee attrition (or retention rates), and excludes intersectional analysis. That means, among other things, it’s hard to ascertain whether employees in under-represented groups resigned from or were dismissed by Tesla at a higher rate than White colleagues. The company was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC early Saturday.

Attrition is an especially important metric for Tesla. The company offers equity in Tesla as part of its compensation for all roles, and uses this promise as a recruiting tool. The longer an employee stays, the more shares they may be able to purchase or vest.

The lack of intersectional analysis in the Tesla diversity report also obscures whether, for example, people of color at Tesla are promoted at the same rate as White people, or whether people of color who are military veterans are hired more or less often than White veterans.

Overall, Tesla’s diversity report said veterans currently make up about 4% of the company’s U.S. workforce.

The report follows a number of allegations of discriminatory treatment at Tesla from employees and former employees over the years. Tesla has denied wrongdoing.

Finally, in its report Tesla laid out plans for keeping its workforce at least as diverse as it is today, or making it more diverse and inclusive.

Along with other initiatives, Tesla said it will recruit from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), offer an array of new apprenticeships, and conduct unconscious bias trainings for all people managers and recruiters in 2021.

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