The lack of diversity in Silicon Valley recently made headlines as statistics on their racial and gender make-up were revealed, showing a largely white and Asian workforce. Former basketball player turned businessman Magic Johnson is now offering his expertise to companies like Google and Apple in order to help them increase their employment of African-Americans and Hispanics.
Johnson is an entrepreneur who has worked in minority markets, focusing on investing in inner-city neighborhoods, and he believes his experiences can connect Silicon Valley to the right talent to diversify its workforce. “I’ve been doing this for over 35 years. I’ve done this for other big corporations as well: Best Buy, Aetna, on and on. I know how to do it. They just need to give me a call. If they’re looking for talent, give me a call. If they are looking for companies to partner with, give me a call,” said Johnson in an interview with USA Today.
— jeffersongraham (@jeffersongraham) October 22, 2014
Statistics of the US workforce of companies like Intuit, Google and Facebook have reached as low as two percent for African-American employees and six percent for Hispanics. As a result, Silicon Valley has promised to change its workforce to better reflect the markets they serve, but companies are apparently finding it hard to look for qualified talent.
Johnson says he believes that his Beverly Hills-based company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, could be up to the task of connecting Silicon Valley companies with minority engineers.
Johnson also recently shared his business savvy with attendees of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ REACH conference at the JW Marriott in the L.A. Live entertainment complex. One of the stories he shared was how successfully he brought Starbucks into urban areas by making minor changes to the menu and updating the music playlist to reflect the tastes of the market. The experience reportedly showed the importance of knowing the market and making adjustments accordingly.
“Today it’s not enough to deliver. Today, you have to over-deliver. And not just sometimes. All the time,” Johnson advised the audience of the conference.