Facebook’s diversity efforts show little progress after five years

Tech 1 week ago TechCrunch 14

Facebook has released its fifth diversity report, and it’s fine. Unless companies fire everyone and start over, we’re not going to see drastic improvements anytime soon.

“A critical lesson we’ve learned is that recruiting, retaining and developing a diverse, inclusive workforce should be a priority from day one,” Facebook Chief Diversity Officer Maxine Williams wrote in a blog post. “The later you start taking deliberate action to increase diversity, the harder it becomes.”

Anyway, worldwide, Facebook is 36 percent female, up from 31 percent in 2014. In the U.S., Facebook is 3.5 percent black, compared to just 2 percent in 2014, and 4.9 percent Latinx compared to 4 percent in 2014. White people, unsurprisingly, still makes up the single largest population of employees (46.4 percent today versus 57 percent in 2014). The upside to this is that white people no longer make up the majority at Facebook.

At the leadership and technical levels, change has not occurred for black employees. Black employees still make up just two percent of people in leadership roles and one percent of employees in technical roles. For Latinx people, employees make up three percent of the technical team and three percent of the leadership team, down from four percent in 2014.

In her blog post, Williams noted that “diversity is critical to our success as a company.”

It’s true and the data is there to back it up. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity at the executive level are 33 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile, according to McKinsey’s report, “Delivering through Diversity.

When the Cambridge Analytica scandal went down, some pointed to Facebook’s overall lack of diversity as part of the problem. That’s because homogenous cultures lead to limited perspectives and potential lack of awareness of things that may be more obvious to diverse groups of people. Perhaps if Facebook had been more diverse, that all fiasco could’ve been prevented.

You can check out Facebook’s full report here.


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