Facebook says diversity report shows room for improvement
- Facebook said it made only modest gains in hiring more people from underrepresented groups in its recently released 2018 Diversity Report. Over a four-year period ending in 2018, Facebook said the number of women working for the company globally increased from 31% to 36%. During that time, women made gains in technical roles (15% to 22%, respectively), business and sales (47% and 57%) and senior leadership roles (23% and 30%).
- Gains in improving diversity beyond gender were incremental. The company reported small increases in the numbers of African American and Hispanic employees overall. The number of African American employees overall rose from 2% to 4%, but the percentage that held technical and leadership roles remained flat at 1% and 2% respectively. The number of Hispanic employees rose from 4% to 5%, but the percentage in tech roles remained the same, at 3%, and representation in leadership roles declined from 5% to 4%. The representation of LGBTQ employees increased from 7% to 8% in one year's time, according to the report. Facebook has a number of diversity plans that it said it will expand.
- A USA TODAY report on Facebook's diversity results said that the company's initiatives have largely benefited white women, but failed African-American and Hispanic women. Black women make up 1.4% of the U.S. workforce at Facebook, and Hispanic women, 2.3%. Maxine Williams, Facebook's chief diversity officer, told USA TODAY in an interview that the company is "definitely concerned" about the numbers. In a statement, the company said it is "encouraged by the progress we’ve made in some areas, and grateful for the advice and support we’ve had along the way. But we have so much more still to do across the board."
Facebook is noteworthy in the tech industry for releasing its diversity report to the public and being relatively transparent about the results, knowing that improvements are needed in hiring people of color, especially women, and other underrepresented groups.
A 2017 diversity update on Facebook showed that the company made significant progress in hiring women in engineering, who made up 27% of the company's class of engineers that year. The percentage of women in Facebook's engineering class is higher than the national average of 18%. But as USA TODAY noted, those gains have not benefited all women equally — women of color are still dramatically underrepresented at the company.
People of color and women sometimes report being ignored, overlooked, discredited or outright discriminated against in workplaces, which often pushes them out. Women of color report developing mental and physical health conditions resulting from the "emotional tax" that keeps them constantly on guard. Companies, and HR specifically, must assess their cultures and overhaul them if they breed intolerance. Just as there's no diversity without inclusion, there's no success in achieving D&I without a culture of tolerance.