Diversity at Airbnb

Today, we are providing important information about the demographics of our employees in the United States. The data we are displaying here will be filed in a report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and we’ll post the filing when it’s available next year. While we have made progress toward our goal of creating a stronger and more diverse company, we are nowhere near satisfied and we have more work to do. We want you to know more about what’s in the report and the steps we’re taking to make our team more diverse.

Diversity is what makes the Airbnb community strong and we must have a diverse workforce if we want to achieve our mission of creating a world where anyone can belong anywhere. Over the past year, our team led by Airbnb Director of Diversity and Belonging David King has worked aggressively to recruit and retain employees from underrepresented backgrounds. In the last year:

  • We implemented the “Diverse Candidate Slates” rule. For every open position, women and underrepresented minorities must be included on candidate slates before those slates are presented to hiring managers and the manager is allowed to proceed with filling the position.
  • We expanded efforts to recruit new employees from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, schools with large Latinx populations, and schools with large female populations in science and engineering, including Morehouse College, Howard University, Wellesley College and the University of Puerto Rico.
  • We have forged partnerships with organizations such as dev/color whose mission is to maximize the impact of Black software engineers and the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, an interdisciplinary network of scholars and advocates to collaborate on innovative solutions for gender equality.
  • We have worked to extract bias from our people policies and practices, and have reviewed and redesigned our performance review and interview processes.

This work has generated results. Over a year ago, 9.97% of Airbnb’s employees were from underrepresented populations and we set a goal of ensuring that the percentage of employees from underrepresented populations in the U.S. increased to 11 percent by the end of 2017.  Today, 11.31% of Airbnb’s employees in the U.S. are from underrepresented populations. From September 1, 2016 to December 1, 2017:

  • The population of African-American employees at Airbnb increased by 46%.
  • The population of Latinx employees increased by 43%.
  • The number of underrepresented minorities in technical roles has nearly tripled since September 1, 2016 (from 35 to 102 employees).
  • While the percentage of women in engineering and other technical roles at Airbnb increased, a total of 41.15% of our employees are women, representing a slight decrease from 42.88% last year.

You can see more statistics here.

We’re proud that we achieved the goal we set for ourselves, but we’re nowhere near satisfied and we’re committed to doing more.

In the coming year, we’ll be taking a series of steps to build on our progress. We are formalizing a partnership with Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), an organization that specializes in sourcing and placing diverse talent in leading businesses. We are also partnering with ScriptEd, an organization that equips students in under-resourced schools with the fundamental coding skills and professional experiences that together create access to careers in technology.

Going forward, we’ll also do more to recruit and retain underrepresented minorities. To date, we’ve worked with groups like dev/color, Jopwell, Grace Hopper, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) to develop a pipeline of candidates to be considered for roles at Airbnb.  We will allocate even more dedicated resources on our recruiting team to engage, attract, and build relationships with potential candidates that we meet through our partners, events, and various recruiting efforts. We will also formalize sourcing efforts with members of our employee resources groups to surface highly talented individuals within their networks and provide the tools they need to help us attract top talent.

Our focus on diversity and belonging is by no means limited to our employees.  Airbnb has worked diligently to ensure everyone in our community of hosts and guests adheres to and upholds the values in its community commitment, which reads “I agree to treat everyone in the Airbnb community—regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age—with respect, and without judgment or bias.”

Over a year ago, we completed a comprehensive review of our platform and announced a range of policies and initiatives that will help ensure Airbnb is open and accessible to everyone. Some of the steps we have taken since the report was released include:

  1. Establishing and vigorously enforcing the Community Commitment.
    • Starting Nov 1, 2016 all users on Airbnb were required to accept The Community Commitment in order to use the website. We have worked quickly to remove users who may violate this commitment.
  2. Strengthening the enforcement infrastructure and more aggressively dealing with discrimination issues.
    • Anyone using Airbnb can now easily report a case of discrimination and receive immediate assistance through our Open Doors policy, which ensures victims of discrimination will be given a place to stay and assistance when booking accommodations. As part of this work, we have established a specific team of trained, case specialists to quickly assess and handle allegations of bias or discrimination.
  3. Partnering with organizations serving diverse communities to leverage their expertise.
    • To date, we have engaged with organizations such as The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, LULAC, The National Council on Independent Living, The Asian Pacific American Institute of Congressional Studies, The Human Rights Campaign and Rainbow PUSH to spread the word about Airbnb and the opportunities for prospective hosts and guests.
  4. Establishing a full-time team of engineers, data scientists and researchers to test and to root out bias in all of Airbnb’s products.
    • Our product team is working on finding ways to reduce bias by providing hosts tools to objectively review requests from prospective guests. These experiments include de-emphasizing information within the reservation request that could lead to bias and understanding its impact on host decision making. In the process, the team is also experimenting with highlighting more objective information like reviews and using other reputational signals on the platform to build more trust.
  5. Expanding Instant Book.
    • Instant Book allows any host to book a listing without securing prior host approval. Today, there are more than 2 million instantly bookable listings, far exceeding our goal of 1 million listings that was established a year ago. Half of all Airbnb listings can be booked via Instant Book.
  6. Entering into a two-year agreement with the State of California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
    • We have been working diligently with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to ensure we are implementing additional measures to ensure that members of the community understand that discrimination has no place on the platform and will not be tolerated.
  7. Diverse Contractors.
    • We are committed to partnering and contracting with minority-owned businesses. To achieve this goal, Airbnb has established a team of employees and an online portal that are both focused solely on recruiting and contracting with businesses led by people of color.
  8. Recruiting Diverse Hosts.
    • Leveraging existing host clubs and engaging hosts to serve as outreach liaisons, Airbnb continues to develop partnerships with local and community-based organizations who can advance our mission and work including in communities of color. This includes local community events to educate community members who might be interested in using the Airbnb platform to earn additional income hosting, or for travel.

This list is by no means an exhaustive review of every action we have taken over the last year  and we’re committed to doing even more. Fighting bias and discrimination and making our company and the technology industry more diverse will require a sustained effort, an ongoing commitment of resources and motivated people of goodwill. We aren’t perfect and we have a lot to learn, but we are deeply committed to ensuring our company and our community are diverse and welcoming to everyone. We won’t stop working until we achieve that goal.