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Making Space for Everyone: How Planet is Building a Global Workforce


Planet is somewhat of a rarity for a company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Not only do we develop cutting-edge geospatial data, tools and products, but we also design, build and operate the world’s largest fleet of remote sensing satellites.

We are also uniquely committed to building a workforce that considers many dimensions of diversity. Planet is dedicated to hiring the best talent, even when some of those people happen to have been born outside the U.S. But historically, this hiring philosophy hasn’t been the norm in the aerospace industry.

Satellite technology is what’s known as “Export Controlled,” either under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which means that the U.S. Government dictates where that satellite technology can go and who can have access to it. For example, any time a U.S.-based company needs to ship a satellite abroad for a launch, or wants to hire someone that is not a U.S. person to work on satellite technology, export license approvals or exceptions must be obtained from the Department of Commerce or the Department of State.

Because of such complicated export regulations, many companies in the aerospace industry choose to keep things simple and only hire U.S. citizens.

However, diversity and inclusion are a top priority at Planet, and we go the extra mile to procure export license approvals or exceptions, if needed, and put the technology safeguards in place so that we can maintain a diverse and international workforce.

In addition to hiring international talent at our U.S. locations, about 20 percent of Planet’s employees are based in our European headquarters in Berlin, Germany, and another 20 percent are remote, giving our workforce maximum flexibility in how they can contribute to Planet’s mission.

To help us recruit at scale and avoid missing out on international talent, Planet is creating even more proactive outreach strategies, which will help leverage a larger audience while prioritizing our efforts to create more balanced teams.

“For our size and stage and for how lean our team is, it’s remarkable that we’ve taken the steps to balance effective compliance with progressive international hiring,” says Michael Kyle, Head of Talent and Belonging at Planet. “This complements what we do domestically, where we are intentional with our outreach to underrepresented communities.”

This, we feel, expands our possibilities to reach our ascribed ambitious targets to create balanced teams by reaching a larger total available audience.

Building a diverse workforce also helps us to better represent our global customer base and connect with what they need from our data and tools. It’s important that our employees understand the broad range of global customers we serve so we can continue to iterate and improve our products and services.

Planet is constantly growing and evolving, so be sure to check out our Careers page for our latest job postings. While there are some rare exceptions to the types of international talent we can hire for specific roles, we remain committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce with an international footprint. We’re excited over the coming months to share more about the many ways we are working to create a balanced workforce and a culture of belonging.