May 17, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen
1 big thing: Big Tech's daunting gender math

Correcting the gender imbalance at Big Tech firms like Apple and Google could take more than a decade, even if those companies commit to making women a majority of new hires, Jennifer Saba writes at Reuters Breakingviews.

Why it matters: Silicon Valley faces unprecedented scrutiny from the public at large, and the male dominance at these firms is an increasing sore spot.

The big picture... "There’s one decisive way to make a difference: for companies to set clear gender targets when they hire."

By the numbers, per the Reuters calculator:

  • "[A]t 200 companies surveyed, women made up 36 percent of entry level positions in the technology sector but just 27 percent of middle-management positions. The figures were worse for positions at vice-president level or above."
  • "Say Google, Facebook and Apple committed to 51 percent of new staff being women – pretty close to the overall makeup of the labor market.
  • "Based on the rate their workforces expanded last year, and assuming one in five existing workers quit and are replaced annually, it would take Apple 15 years to reach parity. Google would do it in 14, and Facebook in a faster-but-still-slow seven years.
  • "Small steps make a big difference. Set a truly bold goal of six in 10 new hires being women, keeping all else constant, and all three companies would achieve parity within six years."

Go deeper:

2. What you missed

Vladimir Putin welcomes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at Bocharov Ruchei residence in Russia. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev/TASS via Getty Images

  1. Kilauea Volcano erupted from its summit this morning, sending a plume of ash 30,000 feet into the sky. This is the largest steam eruption since 1924. Go deeper.
  2. A Delaware judge has ruled against CBS in its effort to strip company control from Shari Redstone's National Amusements Inc. Dive in.
  3. Chinese tech firms dodge ZTE fallout: ZTE isn't the only Chinese tech manufacturer trying to navigate a volatile trans-Pacific trade climate. More.
  4. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine made comments today that are the closest that any top Trump administration official has come to endorsing the mainstream scientific view on the effects of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Go deeper.
  5. Sarah Sanders defended Trump's reference to MS-13 gang members as "animals," explaining it was not in reference to unauthorized immigrants. Details.
  6. Trump told reporters today that he doubts trade negotiations with China will end successfully. Quote.
  7. The Palestinian Authority is undertaking a war crimes complaint against Israel at the International Criminal Court.
3. 1 fun thing

"When J.J. Abrams was a 'Star Wars' novice, Lawrence Kasdan, the writer of 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'The Return of the Jedi,' had some advice for him: 'Star Wars' is not important," the AP's Jake Coyle reports:

“But what is important [about Star Wars is] the way people feel about it... And they are very committed to it. What they’re committed to is a certain kind of film... You can have fun with the tone but you never make fun of the tone, in my world... We live in a very meta culture and there’s a tendency to make fun of these things before they’re even anything.”
— Star Wars writer Lawrence Kasdan

The AP's full writeup on "Solo" is here.

Mike Allen