Facebook Still Grinding Toward Diversity

Facebook has released its latest diversity report, and like other tech giants, its employee makeup remains largely white and male.

“We aren’t where we’d like to be,” reads Facebook’s note on the matter, followed by a numbers breakdown: “The number of women globally has risen from 33 percent to 35 percent and the number of women in tech has increased from 17 percent to 19 percent.” Some 21 percent of all new technical hires are now women. “In the US, we have increased the representation of Hispanics from 4 percent to 5 percent, and Black people from 2 percent to 3 percent.”

Facebook has a number of programs designed to increase diversity, including a Diverse Slate Approach that “sets the expectation that hiring managers will consider candidates from underrepresented backgrounds” when interviewing job candidates. There’s also the Managing Unconscious Bias class that, well, does exactly what it says on the tin.

Another prominent program: Facebook University, which gives underrepresented college students extra training and mentorship. “We started FBU in 2013 with 30 students, and over 500 students have since graduated from the program,” added the note. Some of those graduates have found their way to internships and full-time jobs at Facebook.

Facebook’s efforts mirror those at other tech giants. At Google, for example, employees are prompted to take diversity classes, and hiring managers have changed how they interview and evaluate candidates. In addition, the search-engine giant has devoted resources to educational programs, such as getting more girls to code, that will theoretically diversify the employment pipeline well into the future.

But progress at any large company takes time, and tech is no different: despite these aggressive efforts, firms such as Google have only seen incremental progress in diversifying their ranks over the past few years; in some categories, an increase of a percentage point or two at best.

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