When it comes to diversifying tech, some start-ups are ahead of the curve.
The announcement Wednesday that Netflix would offer up to a year's paid leave for employees who become parents underscores a shift underway in Silicon Valley: The effort to attract, and keep, more female employees.
Many established companies have had a hard time with this. Yahoo's 2015 diversity report showed that only 16 percent of its technology jobs and 24 percent of its leadership positions are staffed by women. Reports from companies such as Facebook (16 percent women in tech jobs, 23 percent in leadership) and Google (18 percent women in tech jobs, and 22 percent in leadership) don't look much better.
One start-up, ZestFinance, based in Los Angeles, decided to make closing the gender gap a priority. The 80-person staff is 42 percent female, with 33 percent of its tech engineering staff and 40 percent of its leadership team staffed by women.
"What really has allowed Zest to kind of attain this level of women in the workplace is that we approach it from the perspective of going past the numbers," said Sonya Merrill, Zest's chief people officer. "We really look at it in terms of 'Yeah, the numbers are great, but the numbers are not enough.' You really have to bake it into the company to make it work."
Zest follows four different principles in hiring to ensure they're recruiting a diverse employee base.