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Bigger Than a Numbers Story

For the first time last year, we shared our gender and ethnic diversity data with the world. As Jeremy stated then, “Diversity is important to our product, our work environment, and our ability to cultivate a successful global company.” He announced a few actionable items that the company was working towards, one of which was hiring a Head of Diversity. Well here I am, and it’s been an inspirational, challenging and educational 10 months. Since then, we’ve been focused on continuing to build a company that is not only diverse but, more importantly, inclusive.  

I recently spoke with the International Business Times about some of the progress we’ve made, as well as our goals and values. We still have a long way to go. Full representation and inclusion of historically underrepresented groups will take some time. Yet we remain optimistic about the future of our diversity and inclusion efforts given the results we’ve seen over the past 12 months. Here are some highlights of Yelp’s progress:

  • 124% growth rate in women in Engineering globally

  • 86% growth rate in African-Americans/Blacks in the U.S.

  • 88% growth rate in Hispanics/Latinos in the U.S.

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We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the course of a year, and there’s no doubt that metrics are important. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get done.” However, my vision for diversity and inclusion is to be less tethered to specific numbers and to be more focused on ensuring that Yelp continues to be a “Best Place to Work” for all of our employees, no matter their age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability or economic status.

I’m inspired by the saying: “build it and they will come” (shout out to Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams!). We recognize the importance of creating an inclusionary environment to make sure both current and new employees are comfortable, happy, and bringing their authentic selves to work. Over the past year, we’ve put a lot of focus into elevating Yelp’s Employee Resource Groups. We started five groups across many of our offices, including Women At Yelp, Awesome Women in Engineering, Yelp Parents, OUTburst, and DiverseBurst. These groups are employee-driven and grassroots, with goals of enhancing employee engagement, professional development and providing business insights. We felt it was important to give our employees the power to self-organize and inform the approach the company should take when it comes to diversity. This is bigger than a numbers story – it's going to take changing our employees’ mindsets, and we’ve been educating ourselves and learning from each other along the way.

To further help create an inclusive environment, we’ve offered unconscious bias training, and are currently working with community organizations and nonprofits like Year Up, Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, Hackbright, Girls Who Code, Technovation, and more.

While it’s crucial to foster an inclusive environment, we haven’t forgotten the importance of recruiting from underrepresented communities. So our recruiters have:

  • Set realistic hiring goals for our sales organization, with the aim of representing and mirroring the diverse communities where we have offices

  • Expanded our Campus Ambassador Program and added ten new college/university target schools to our sales recruiting schedule and held more than 40 diversity recruiting events on those campuses

  • Deepened relationships with on-campus women’s STEM organizations like: Women in Computer Science and Society of Women Engineers

Our founders established company values many years ago. Three of those values really speak to our belief in the power of diversity: ‘Play Well with Others,’ ‘Be Authentic,’ and ‘Be Unboring.’ If these core values speak to you too, I think we’ll get along just fine. Come join us by visiting