Fighting Discrimination and Making Airbnb More Diverse

Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere. Discrimination and bias directly contravene our mission. While we have taken a number of steps over the last five years to address discrimination in our community and further diversify our company and community, we have yet to meet the high standards we set for ourselves.

Today, we are announcing three new commitments:

  • 20% of our Board of Directors and Executive Team, collectively, will be people of color by the end of 2021
  • While setting a short-term goal is important, we want to plan with the long-term in mind, too. By the end of this summer, our teams will determine specific recruitment and retention goals to be met by the end of 2025.
  • Each member of our Executive Team will produce and share with their teams a detailed diversity plan in the months ahead that will outline how they plan to meet these goals. Company diversity data is currently shared internally on an ongoing basis with teams.

Earlier this week, we announced Project Lighthouse, a landmark partnership with Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization with millions of members to measure and fight bias and discrimination.

Airbnb is both a company and a community of hosts and guests around the world, and our partnership with Color of Change is just one step we have taken to make Airbnb more inclusive and fair.

Our Company

If we want to achieve our mission, we need a company that is as diverse as our community.

To date, we have implemented a diverse candidate slate rule to ensure we consider women globally and candidates from underrepresented backgrounds in the U.S. for all open positions, and expanded recruitment efforts in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, schools with large Latinx populations and schools with large female populations in science and engineering. We have steadily seen the percentage of employees from underrepresented populations increase, but this progress has been too slow.

Travel has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis and we made the difficult decision to reduce the size of our workforce and implement a hiring freeze, with the exception of a limited number of critical roles. These decisions were incredibly difficult, and one of our principles was to be unwavering in our commitment to diversity.

While we have paused hiring, we have not paused our work to make Airbnb more diverse and we are already working towards our goals. Right now, retention is arguably more important than recruitment, so we are investing in professional development, mentorship and sponsorship for women and underrepresented minorities and those who actively advance diversity and belonging.

We are growing our diversity and belonging learning programs so everyone knows what they can do to create a workplace where everyone can belong. For example, tomorrow, to mark Juneteenth, Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky will lead a conversation for employees with New York Times bestselling author Carvell Wallace. Wallace will share his expertise on the importance of diverse representation, being a Black parent in America, and the role tech plays in creating systemic change.

We are also reimagining our recruiting processes so when we’re ready to hire again, we are doing so with diversity in mind. And we’re going to keep recruiting at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and schools with significant Latinx populations.

In addition to hiring more people of color, we are spending more money with companies owned by women and underrepresented minorities. As of fall 2019, we increased our diverse supplier spend by 400 percent since the end of 2016 and are committed to growing this number and working to grow long-term relationships with diverse suppliers.

And we will continue to use our resources and our voice to support important efforts to protect and advance equality. We joined amici briefs in the two important Supreme Court cases decided this week in support of workplace protections for LGBTQ people and protections for Dreamers. In May 2020, Airbnb made contributions of $500,000 to both the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter Foundation in support of their missions.

Our Global Community

In our community, we have seen painful stories of people being denied a place to stay simply because of who they are. In response, in 2016, Laura Murphy, former Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office and President of Laura Murphy & Associates, conducted a Civil Rights audit of Airbnb and we began instituting a series of reforms to make Airbnb more accessible to everyone. In 2019, we released an update on this work. Some – but not all – of our work has included:

  • Creating the anti-discrimination product team, a team of technical professionals that works to fight bias and discrimination.
  • Changing the way profile pictures are displayed. Hosts do not see a guest’s photo until after a reservation is confirmed.
  • Partnering with the NAACP and LULAC to bring the benefits of hosting to more communities of color.
  • Distributing this Antiracism and Allyship Resources Guide to our hosts and guests in the US.

We are nowhere near done. Project Lighthouse will help us do more to uncover, measure, and fight discrimination in the Airbnb community.

As we continue our work to make our company and our community more diverse and inclusive, we will use our resources and expertise. More importantly, we will listen. Our work to date has been made possible because of our partners in the civil rights community and community members around the world who have shared their thoughts and experiences with us. We will continue to listen to what they have to say and we will act to achieve our mission.