- Politics and Social Issues
Sephora's Technology Workers Are Mostly Female; WSJ In Shock
A Lesson To Silicon Valley, Or Clickbait?
Shopping for cosmetics at Sephora is meant to be a hands-on experience. Through more than 300 stand-alone stores in North America and another 475 inside J. C. Penney department stores, Sephora USA takes a self-service approach to buying makeup, fragrances, and skin care products. It offers more than 200 brands of prestige products, including its own-brand products, all of which customers are encouraged to sample. The company also sells via catalog and online at Sephora.com. Part of luxury brand giant LVMH, Sephora USA is the North American retail arm of France-based Sephora, which was founded in 1969 and has a global network of more than 1,540 stores. Sephora USA's first shop opened in New York in 1998.
In an article published today in the Wall Street Journal, John Simons' headline tries its best to cut through the air with enough sexism that it spoils the oxygen that I'm currently inhaling. With references to Women in Tech (a hotspot for today's social justice warriors), and an eye-catching "60%" number out of the total technology employees, it certainly sounds promising. Until you realize that you've got common sense, John doesn't, and the world continues to rotate around its axis without a care. Can Sephora really teach Silicon Valley how to hire women? Does this really matter? Let's see if John's stuff hits home here.
How To Read: An Intro
Before diving into John's article a little further, I think it important to realize how to read such hot topic articles to prepare yourself emotionally. That is, get ready to detach yourself from the knee-jerk reaction that is so prone to happen when reading hot button topics. Case in point: I've taken the time to give you background FIRST into what Sephora does, their business model, and exactly how they operate with locations, etc. It's their basic D&B background. In John's article....we don't get any sort of this insight. I realize the focus of the article is supposed to just be on their technology division....but keep in mind the context. So...make sure you go into any article such as this with a grain of salt.
First....the title. You already know that the terms "Silicon Valley" have been used alongside "women", so you know what's coming. You also have the hint that Sephora has magically hired all these women in their technology division that make over roughly half of the team. Well....without even having to dive further into the article, let's take some of the emotion out of this and inject some common sense. You know that this is a cosmetics retailer. They have a lot of women...the parent company is over 74% female....ACROSS THE GLOBE. Well...guess it makes sense then doesn't it?
Second, Sephora is a beauty retailer/reseller. What part of this would seem attract a normal male that wants to work in a digital division of a company? I'd like to see some honest to God off the record interviews with the male counterparts in Sephora, and see if this was their first job choice. If so...great. Good for them. But I'm willing to bet that the majority of those guys took the job because that's what they settled on, not because they wouldn't prefer to work for a major technology company.
Third......this is what drives me insane just looking at the clickbait inherently present in this article, even before we get to the body. Sephora is a retailer. What they aren't is a TECHNOLOGY COMPANY. They don't manufacture tech, they don't sell hardware, they don't engineer new technology products. So, how is comparing their technology team in the marketing department or otherwise somehow compare to a major and very large tech company like Google, Facebook, or Apple? I'm sure there's some marketing cross section....but that's about it.
Maybe I'm crazy, but women wanting to work at a retailer that sells makeup probably makes a lot more sense than women lining up at Google in droves.
So Does Any Of This Matter?
The burning question from John's article is still burning though: can we take lessons from this to further increase the percentage of women in Silicon Valley? Can we finally break through the barriers that are holding women back from being employed at the largest technology companies on the planet?
Um..no. Not just no, but a resounding hell no. It's already been debunked that these barriers we keep talking about...no one really knows what they are. It's easy to just blame it on men, because SOCIAL JUSTICE. It's a lot harder to just accept that there are differences between men and women across a plethora of biological and sociological norms. It's almost like we're animals or something. I always enjoy the liberal sense of accepting science except when it comes down to cultural points that their point of view doesn't meet up with. Then all of a sudden science is completely wrong.
Google has already made it clear that they're on the "let's hire women because women" bandwagon publicly....I just don't think they do this behind closed doors, because...SHOCKER....there's just more supply of cheap labor from overseas to get here on visas, plus...it's still more men, regardless of whether that labor is homegrown or from across the pond.
So, unless Sephora has an answer on that front, or how to somehow magically warp the female brain into suddenly being enamored with the technical engineering of software/hardware, we won't see these numbers across Silicon Valley anytime soon....and, nor should we. We shouldn't care about what sex is hired across any company whatsoever: we should want the best person for the job and not take someone's sex into the conversation in the first place.
What Sephora has done is pretty obvious....they have a business that is attractive to women, and I applaud that they have an environment that these women feel comfortable working in. So that's great.
I'll also say that Sephora's credit ranking is a 15 from D&B, which in financial investment world means "high moderate risk", and their parent Lvmh Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton is rated as "high risk". This is not always a bad thing, as it usually means you can grab some stock on the low end and invest for little to nothing. As it stands, this has helped drive the stock up to a 52 week high as of the end of September, over $50 a share.
At the end of the day, the proof will be in the pudding as they say. However, I wish we'd just focus on companies doing a good job to make a good work environment, and stop trying to divide people based off of their sex. With every article that comes out like this, it's one more step to making this a "them vs us" viewpoint rather than just "us".
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