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In 2019, Internet Association (IA) launched its inaugural Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) benchmark report to provide first-of-its-kind workforce data for companies in the internet industry. In 2020, IA worked with its member companies to explore year-over-year trends and growth in the industry. With each instance of this report, IA hopes to provide details on new and emerging trends. In this second iteration, IA identified the need to set definitional standards around workforce terminology and collected data on immigration and the impact of H-1B visa restrictions.

About The Economist

IA partnered with the Sadie Collective to hire economist Nyamekye Asare as a key collaborator. The Sadie Collective is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding opportunities for Black women in the fields of economics, data science, finance, and public policy. Asare holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Ottawa.

Key Findings Of The 2020 Report

In the second year, the trends continue to show that internet companies with dedicated D&I budgets have a higher representation of women and underrepresented groups. On average, IA member company’s D&I budgets doubled from 2019.

The report indicates that companies struggle to retain talent from underrepresented groups in proportion to organizational growth. However, representation from women appears to increase as companies age.


Philanthropic giving to organizations serving underrepresented populations increased from 41% to 71%


Corporate D&I representation goals increased from 41% to 52%


Recruiting from Hispanic-Serving Institutions increased from 41% to 62%


Tracking of D&I supplier spending increased from 22% to 43%


Employee Resource Groups remains at 81%


48% of IA companies reported difficulty hiring people using H-1B visas under rules enacted during the Trump Administration

Continued Initiatives

IA is creating standardized workforce terminology surrounding D&I to ensure uniform company reporting.

Technical Workforce

Any role within the company that involves a STEM or product-based technical function which requires technical specialization or knowledge. The technical workforce is defined by the position and not the department and does not include administrative positions.

Senior Technical Management

Employees who occupy director-level or higher management positions with significant functional responsibilities over technical projects and manage other employees. Note that technical senior-level managers may reside outside of the “technical career path” or R&D/Engineering function, but must manage technical employees and the delivery of technical products, lead technical development, project teams, divisions, and organizations within a company, and/or have deep technical knowledge/specialization.

Senior Management

Employees who occupy director-level or higher management positions with significant functional responsibilities and manage other employees.

IA’s Work Since Last Year’s Report

Sean Perryman, Director of Social Impact, Internet Association

In 2019, increasing supplier diversity was an area identified as an opportunity for growth amongst internet companies. Following the release of the report, Sean Perryman, IA’s Director of Social Impact, was appointed to the FCC Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment. The committee provides recommendations to the FCC on how to ensure disadvantaged communities benefit from tech and media. IA has introduced its membership to materials on how to begin tracking supplier diversity, which we see reflected by the supplier diversity budgetary tracking nearly doubling from 2019 to 2020.

As part of Perryman’s committee work with the FCC, Internet Association co-hosted a Supplier Diversity Showcase with the FCC in 2020 and continues to engage on this topic.

In the summer of 2020, IA announced industry-wide actions to improve diversity within the internet industry workforce. Corresponding efforts included sponsoring a racial justice state legislative and launching a D&I job referral site for 2020 while on-campus and other recruiting events were postponed. Internally, IA committed to only participating in and producing diverse event panels. Additionally, IA implemented the Rooney Rule in the hiring process.

What They’re Saying

The Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus welcomes the efforts of the Internet Association in releasing their second annual Diversity and Inclusion Benchmark Report. Diversity and Inclusion are not just buzzwords; they are key to ensuring economic progress that is widely shared by all, and the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus emphasizes the importance of strategic engagement with HBCUs as the foundation of that principle. The Internet Association’s yearly assessment and tracking of these data points is crucial to make these efforts the norm – it is our hope that their example is replicated across not only the tech sector, but the entire workforce.

–Reps. Adams and Hill, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus