Facebook's new class of engineers is 27% women
- A diversity update for Facebook shows the company made only slight gains in hiring, but scored big in bringing women engineers onboard, reports Fortune. Stats show that 27% of its new class of engineers are women. Fortune calls this is a major feat, since women make up just 18% of U.S. computer science majors.
- Some of the credit for the record number of women engineers belongs to Facebook University's summer training program for undergrads from underrepresented groups, Lori Goler, Facebook's VP of people, told Fortune. She said the program is an investment in future women engineers. The hope is that after graduation, trainees will join the company as engineers and data and business analysts; that's already the case for some, she added.
- Facebook generally seems to be improving its diversity numbers, TechCrunch shows. This year is the first time the company reported that less than 50% of its employees are white — but percentages of black employees remain below 5%, and the number of Hispanic employees now hovers around 5%.
Facebook's numbers may be a call to action for an industry that has a reputation for keeping out women and people of color and where sexual harassment claims persist. Diversity hiring across the board remains modest, but onboarding a record number of women in the higher-paying tech job's sector is something to be celebrated.
The summer training program established a talent pipeline for raising and maintaining diversity hiring, and it created networks for those who attended. Without those networks, insular industries like tech can be notoriously unwelcoming for anyone trying to enter as a supposed outsider.
Last year, Facebook was charged with rejecting code from women more often than code made by men. Gober defended the company by explaining that code from lower-level employees is more likely to be rejected against coding from more experienced senior engineers, who are mostly men. A lack of women leadership is a problem all on its own, and reflects the industry's struggle to not only hire women but retain them.
So far, however, Facebook's strategy to overcome this seems to be seeing some success. Employers should review practices to avoid any appearance of bias — and will need to do so regularly.