Surprise! Facebook’s Workforce is White and Male, Too

Facebook Tech Team Diversity

Facebook has released figures showing the diversity of its workforce and, as with Google and Yahoo before it, the numbers depict a company that’s overwhelmingly male and white.

Men constitute 69 percent of the company’s overall employee base, and 85 percent of the technical team. Fifty seven percent of the overall workforce is white, while 34 percent is Asian, 4 percent is Hispanic and 2 percent is black. Looking at technical employees, 53 percent are white, 41 percent are Asian, 3 percent are Hispanic and 1 percent are black.

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“As these numbers show, we have more work to do – a lot more. But the good news is that we’ve begun to make progress,” wrote Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Global Head of Diversity, in a blog post revealing the figures. The company, she said, is “absolutely committed to achieving greater diversity at Facebook and across the industry.” Since launching a “strategic diversity team” last year, she said the company is seeing improved figures in terms of both new hires and retention rates.

None of the reports by Facebook, Yahoo or Google are surprising: People have known tech is a largely white and male world for some time. Companies say the lack of diversity reflects the pool of available talent and emphasize their efforts to encourage more women and minorities to pursue STEM degrees as a long-term solution. Some observers, however, say diversity is a governance issue: If leaderships wanted their workforce to be more diverse, they would be.

Last month, Google kicked off what’s becoming a stream of announcements by tech companies sharing their diversity figures. Google said that just 30 percent of its employees are women, 3 percent are Hispanic and 2 percent are black. Several weeks later, Yahoo revealed its numbers: In the U.S., 50 percent of its employees are white, 39 percent are Asian, 4 percent are Hispanic and 2 percent are black.

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Chart: Facebook

6 Responses to “Surprise! Facebook’s Workforce is White and Male, Too”

  1. I am wondering what is driving the choice of the which areas to cover here. Looking at the figures produced I have to assume that the age diversity is not being reported because it makes even more damning reading.

    Recent comments from hiring managers and recruiters on why someone over 50 could not be hired after agreeing they clearly had all the required skills to do the job:
    1) We need someone who can be with us for 20 years.
    2) We pay for full benefits and staff over 50 are too expensive.
    3) We can’t afford to pay you what you are worth.
    4) With all your experience you would be bored working here because you think too much.
    5) You are just too smart.

  2. The implication in a lot of these diversity studies is that said companies need to actively pursue minorities and may have discriminatory hiring practises. Why ignore the 41% of Asians cited in this article? Why don’t we bend over backwards to assist them? Seeing as Asians (including Indians in some reports) are 4.43 percent of the U.S. population it suggests that minorities are not necessarily disadvantaged (unless they are radically different and thus are not a legitimate comparison, something we ought to reject). It’s more of an internal problem; the company should not be blamed for what society or the demographic is responsible for.

    But let’s examine this. If a large majority of minority applicants are being turned away then it could imply discrimination; but what if the figures are proportional to the amount of potential applicants? What if women, Latinos and blacks do not apply at the same rate as whites and Asians? It shouldn’t come as a surprise that whites are overwhelmingly represented, but Asians are overrepresented, and good for them.