Article  |  Leadership

Why we signed the Portland Tech Diversity Pledge

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Over the past ten years, Planet Argon has had a number of talented individuals work here. Our past (and current) roster has been a collection of some of the brightest, savviest, and most delightful people I’ve ever had a chance to collaborate with.

However, for several years we had a serious problem. We were not a very diverse group of people. My estimate is that between 2005 - 2012, we were approximately 80-90% male at any given time across the company.

This topic was raised in several conversations with my business partners during this era, but we never really had a clear strategy on how to improve the situation.

We were negligent. I was negligent.

We would default to seeing who would apply for positions (mostly male). Having a diverse team sounded great, but how do we get there if people weren’t showing up to our job ads?

We could (and should!) have done a better job here.

Things start to take a turn

In 2012, we began to see a positive shift in a) our recruitment talent pool and b) employee retention.

As of today, across our 16 person organization, we’re approximately:

  • 44% Female
  • 56% Male

How did this happen? Honestly, it wasn’t very intentional. A few hires were women and not long after, we started to see an increase in women that would apply for our open positions. Given that we’re not a huge organization, a few new hires can drastically shift the diversity balance and that may have lead to job seekers finding our team more appealing.

As we look to continue to grow our organization, we are really aiming to maintain a healthy and balanced gender ratio. When we drill down to some of our roles (i.e., Software Developer), we still see an imbalance that we’re working to address. We can’t afford to be relaxed on this.

On the whole, having a more diverse team, has greatly benefited our clients, our projects, and our employee culture.

We don’t want to go back to the way it was.

Diversity Pledge

Recently, the Portland Development Commission and several local tech organizations partnered to "address the underrepresentation of women and people of color in our industry" and published a diversity pledge.

As we look to continue addressing these problems, we found it prudent to co-sign this pledge.

We are committed to participating in efforts to create and implement strategies to increase the hiring of both women and people of color. We’re also committed to sharing our demographic data to the local community. We'd love to share what has worked and learn from other organizations.

Our work is far from over.


Robby Russell

Managing Partner

Planet Argon

p.s. We’re hiring.

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