Facebook Made Virtually No Diversity Improvement Since Last Year

Photo: NurPhoto/REX Shutterstock.
Last year, Silicon Valley's major tech companies released their diversity stats in an effort to show that yes, there is a diversity problem at hand, and yes, they are working to fix it. Unfortunately, 2015's diversity data thus far shows there hasn't been much improvement. At all.

Facebook increased its headcount by 59% over the past 12 months. Half of those hires were women, right? Nope! Facebook only managed to increase the percentage of women it employs by 1%, which means it's hiring roughly the same percentage of women as it has in the past (a little over 30%). As for cultural diversity, the company employs 2% more people of Asian descent than it did a year ago, but it didn't make any headway in hiring Hispanic, Black, or multiracial individuals for tech positions. Facebook is culturally identical in makeup to what it was a year ago.

In a blog post, Facebook's global director of diversity Maxine Williams explains that the company's numbers are "trending up" but aren't yet where they want them to be. To help fix this, Facebook reworked its Managing Bias training course and added a "Facebook University" course and community groups aimed at minority college students and women. As for hiring, the company has a pilot program that mandates "one qualified candidate who is a member of an underrepresented group" for any open position. Talk about change.

Google's 2015 diversity numbers are similar, with women making up 30% of its employee base and 18% of its technical positions (up 1% from last year).

Change doesn't happen overnight, clearly. Women still make up under 20% of total computer science graduates from universities each year, but those numbers are improving (plus, there are all the women who are self-taught coders). There is diversity in Silicon Valley, even if Facebook and Google still aren't on the bandwagon — and tech leaders have a responsibility to seek out talented and diverse individuals. After all, if you're building a product for the world to use, it should be representative of the people using it. Hopefully, Facebook's diversity numbers will start shooting upwards soon.

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