Facebook, Google Show No Progress

Facebook’s internal diversity report released on Thursday is practically identical to its report from last year, showing no progress in diversifying its workforce.

The report is not much different from Google’s diversity data released earlier this year that shows it, too, is overwhelmingly male, white, and to a lesser degree Asian, with Latinos and Black percentages barely registering, and white men overwhelmingly dominating senior management. Neither Facebook nor Google participated in the 2015 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity.

At Facebook, Black and Hispanic employees represent 2 percent and 4 percent of the company’s workforce, respectively, with Asians accounting for 36 percent and those who identify as white representing 55 percent. Women account for 32 percent of all employees at Facebook, yet only represent 23 percent of the company’s senior leadership. Its senior leadership is 73 percent white, 21 percent Asian, 3 percent Hispanic and 2 percent Black.

Women also make up an even smaller percentage of tech employees at Facebook, representing only 16 percent of technologists. In non-tech positions at Facebook, however, women outnumber men 52 percent to 48 percent.

In comparison, the data for companies in DiversityInc’s Top 10 shows that women make up 33 percent of senior management, with Latinos, Blacks and Asians representing nearly 20 percent.

Facebook’s 2013 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filing, the most recent available, shows the company hired only seven black people six men and one woman out of an overall headcount increase of 1,231 in 2013.

“While we have achieved positive movement over the last year, it’s clear to all of us that we still aren’t where we want to be,” said Maxine Williams, Facebook’s global head of diversity, in the report. “There’s more work to do.”

The New York Times pointed out, however, that Williams said almost exactly the same thing when Facebook released its diversity report last year, and the statement was very similar to those of other tech companies: “Like our peers, we have a lot of work to do,” Twitter said in a diversity report it posted last year, and Pinterest said, “We’re not close to where we want to be, but we’re working on it.” In Google’s 2014 report, according to the Times, SVP for People Operations Laszlo Bock said, “Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity.”

Google’s workforce, according to its 2015 data, is 60 percent white, 31 percent Asian, 2 percent Black and 3 percent Hispanic. Those numbers remain unchanged from the company’s 2014 report. Google’s leadership is even less diverse: 72 percent of its leadership is white, 23 percent Asian, 2 percent Black and 1 percent Hispanic.

Meanwhile, men represent 70 percent of the employees at Google and, in senior leadership, 78 percent are men and 22 percent women.

“We’re still not where we want to be when it comes to diversity,” says the Google website on diversity. “And it is hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts. All of our efforts, including sharing these numbers, are designed to help us recruit and develop the world’s most talented and diverse people.”

In his first-ever public Q&A on Facebook last year, Zuckerberg addressed the issue of diversity and lack of women in technology, citing a vicious cycle as the root of the problem.

“There’s just so much research that shows that diverse teams perform better at anything you’re trying to do,” he said. “Companies that are more diverse do better.”

Not only is there less diversity in the tech sector than normal, he added, “but there’s especially way fewer women.”

“It’s this problem because it’s not even clear where you would start attacking it,” he said. “You need to start earlier in the funnel so that girls don’t self-select out of doing computer science education, but at the same time, one of the big reasons why today we have this issue is that there aren’t a lot of women in the field today. The reason why girls don’t go into computer science is because there are no girls in computer science you need to break the cycle.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, has taken a keen interest in diversity practices at the major tech companies and has been attending many of the companies’ shareholder meetings this year to ask them about their diversity initiatives.

Jackson participated in an hour-long discussion titled “Innovating Diversity & Inclusion in Tech” at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, this past spring, saying inclusion and diversity can fuel innovation in the tech industry.

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