Facebook’s latest diversity report shows intent, little transformation


Facebook has released its latest batch of diversity data to shed light on the race and gender demographic of its workforce.

Facebook has been avidly driving diversity in the tech space with the likes of its TechPrep programme launched in 2015.

Diversity in the technology space has seen a more acute focus of late, especially since Pinterest hired a head of diversity in January 2016. The move signalled a new era for diversity in tech where companies were taking diversity seriously and initiating programs to address it.

Even with these programmes in place and the notable focus of inclusivity in the tech worldplace, Facebook’s latest figures are far from impressive.

Read more: Slack releases diversity report, records an increase since last report

The number of people from minority groups in Facebook’s senior management positions are still abysmally low, with just 3% Black, 3% Hispanic and 27% women represented, but the new data is pointing towards a change, albeit a tiny one.

In the last 12 months in the US, Facebook’s hires for senior leadership have included 9% Black, 5% Hispanic and 29% women. Although there is an increase, it is hard to see the difference without knowing the number of how many white senior employees have been hired in the comparative period.

There is a slight increase in women in leadership positions at Facebook too, however the numbers are still quite low. The current number increased from 23% to 27%.

In terms of sexuality and gender orientation, an internal voluntary survey of US-based Facebook employees saw 61% responses, with 7% of those self-identifying as LGBTQ or asexual.

Facebook diversity senior leadership

In response to the numbers, Facebook noted that it now encourages more thorough recruitment measures.

“Our diverse slate approach encourages recruiters to look longer, harder and smarter for more diversity in the qualified talent pool. Our goal is to create an environment where diversity is considered an indispensable part of the search for great talent,” the company explained.

Facebook recruitment to spur investment

The problem with finding that talent, at least according to the company, is a lot deeper than better recruitment systems.

Read more: Intel unveils aggressive plans to increase diversity and inclusion in tech with $300m initiative

“It has become clear that at the most fundamental level, appropriate representation in technology or any other industry will depend upon more people having the opportunity to gain necessary skills through the public education system,” the company said.

To address this, the social media giant is investing US$15-million to code.org over the next five years. The investment is meant to drive the development of a curriculum that is leans towards technology and promotes engineering and computer science especially in underdeveloped communities.

The company is planning to grow its Facebook University program, a training program focused undergraduate college students from underrepresented groups. Facebook’s Lean In Circles, in partnership with LeanIn.org, LinkedIn and Anita Borg Institute is a program meant to support women already at college.

Facebook diversity report

Facebook also explains that diversity is not fully addressed by hiring people of colour, but also creating a more inclusive environment. To build this environment, Facebook initiated a training program for employees on managing unconscious bias, thus reducing negative effects in the workplace.

The program is designed to help the social giant become a stronger, more diverse and inclusive organisation.



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