Lately a lot of tech companies have been released reports detailing the race, ethnicity, and gender make-up of their tech employees. Google put out theirs first in late May, quickly followed by Yahoo and LinkedIn. Yesterday Facebook followed suit with a diversity report that tracks the demographics of all their tech, non-tech, and “senior-level” workers. The results are pretty much what you’d expect from your standard tech company at this point.
Here are some of their findings:
While the gender breakdown is not too uneven in non-tech related positions (47% women to 53% men), it’s pretty dismal everywhere else. Men make up 77% of senior employees and 85% of tech ones, leading to an overall global average of 69%.
For comparison, Google’s breakdown is 70% male and 30% female; Yahoo is 62% male and 37% female; and LinkedIn is 61% to 39%. Similarly with Facebook, actual technical roles at Google and Yahoo (LinkedIn did not break down their statistics to reflect tech and non-tech) are only 17% women. Women only hold 27% of STEM positions, according to the U.S. census bureau, so these numbers are technically worse than the national average–although it should be noted that Facebook and Yahoo’s statistics are for their global employees, not just their U.S. ones.
The race/ethnicity breakdown is even more stark, according to the charts:
While Facebook’s hiring numbers appears to be higher than the national average for Asian tech workers, when it comes to overall employee numbers, the company is overwhelmingly white, with a severe deficit of Hispanic and black workers. The contrast is higher in non-tech and senior level positions, where white employees make up 63% and 74% respectively.
Facebook Global Head of Diversity Maxine Williams, who wrote up the report for Facebook’s blog and who is not one of those white male senior level employees, believes that this level of transparency is a crucial first step to helping the company to move past their diversity problems:
Diversity is something that we’re treating as everyone’s responsibility at Facebook, and the challenge of finding qualified but underrepresented candidates is one that we’re addressing as part of a strategic effort across Facebook. Since our strategic diversity team launched last year, we’re already seeing improved new hire figures and lower attrition rates for underrepresented groups.
While she doesn’t go into specifics about just how this “strategic diversity team” improved their hire figures, she does cite Facebook’s recent partnerships with several diversity-minded organizations such as the Anita Borg Institute, the National Center for Women & Information Technology, Girls Who Code, Code 2040, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and Yes We Code.
Williams also states that Employee Resource Groups and scholarships/internships for underrepresented college freshmen are currently in development, and that current employees are being given “unconscious bias training” to provide a more welcoming environment for members of the minority. This last measure is probably the most important, as many female and black tech workers often leave STEM field positions after getting hired due to problematic work environments.
As we said when Google first released their numbers, it’s at least refreshing to see tech companies acknowledging the problem and talking about how they’re going to step up and fix it. But it’s real easy to talk the talk, Facebook: now we have to see you walk the walk.
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