Women executives left Yahoo amid layoff talk

Venkatesan R | | Updated on: Nov 01, 2016
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Women executives left Yahoo at an unusually high rate after the US technology company announced plans to sell itself earlier this year, but it was not immediately clear why, according to the company’s 2016 diversity report, released on Monday.

The sharp drop comes as Silicon Valley faces pressure to diversify a workforce heavily dominated by white and Asian men.

The last year has been turbulent for the web pioneer, which in February announced it would explore alternatives and put in motion a plan to cut about 15 per cent of its workforce. In July, it struck a $4.8-billion deal to sell its core internet businesses to Verizon Communications.

The number of women in Yahoo leadership roles slipped to 21 per cent as on June 30, down from 24 per cent the year before, the report showed. Women in non-technical jobs dropped to 52 per cent from 54 per cent. The total number of women at Yahoo remained steady at 31 per cent.

Yahoo had 8,800 employees at the end of the second quarter, down from 9,400 as on March 31.

It was not clear why there was such a marked decline in the proportion of women leaders at Yahoo, which is led by Silicon Valley’s most powerful female CEO, Marissa Mayer.

“Women leaders organically left because other opportunities were more appropriate for them,” said Margenett Moore-Roberts, Yahoo’s global head of diversity and inclusion. She said most of the women executives who left did so voluntarily after the plan to sell the core company was announced.

She said Yahoo will use a combination of internal searches and promotions, outside recruitment and partnerships with women-focused tech organisations to balance the losses.

The dip in women executives does not seem to be mirrored at other major tech companies. Women held 28 per cent of leadership positions at Apple, according to its latest figures, unchanged from the year before.

Published on January 15, 2018

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