Big Tech Puts Big Energy Into Racial Equity Audits

CBx Vibe:Don’t Shoot” Chamillionaire

By Ariel Solomon

  • Big Tech companies Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Meta have recently committed to racial equity audits, Alphabet is fighting shareholders against it
  • Black Americans, most likely to be impacted by the audit results, make up 13% of the U.S. population, but only 7% of the high tech workforce

Two years ago, companies came out in droves to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement; two years later, they’re being held accountable for their highly vocal promises, by way of racial equity audits. These audits evaluate whether or not companies cause or perpetuate discrimination. While Apple (AAPL +1.55%), Amazon (AMZN 1.47%), Microsoft (MSFT +1.70%), and Meta (META +1.22%) have either recently completed or agreed to complete such audits, not all big tech companies are willing to conduct them even following shareholder pressure.

Why This Matters: Racial equity audits attempt to evaluate whether or not the commitments made have been enacted or impactful, and to identify further opportunities for improvement of internal policies and practices. Black Americans, most-likely impacted by the audits, make up 13% of the U.S. population but only 7% of high tech employees, drastic underrepresentation worthy of evaluation. It’s disappointing that not all Big Tech companies have agreed to participate in racial equity audits.

Google parent company, Alphabet (GOOG -0.12%), has disagreed to do so, even after receiving votes in favor from 63.4% of its independent shareholders. This sends a multitude of signals; either the tech giant does not want to be held accountable for the eventual findings, or that it does not wish to prioritize this over other profit-driving work. Also, it may represent a lack of faith in the evaluation methodology and/or evaluators, perhaps meaningful issues.

Situational Awareness: If the highest value companies agree to audits, this will pressure many others to follow-suit, and the results can support employees and investors alike to make better employment and investment decisions. Equally important to these audits will be the framework through which these are executed, and the actions taken once results are shared.  

CBx Vibe:Don’t Shoot” Chamillionaire

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