Facebook, a Year Later, Is a Little Less White, Male (a Little)

Josh WolfordBusiness

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Over the past year, the gender and ethnic makeup of Facebook's workforce didn't really change.

As of today, Facebook's employees are 55% white and 68% male. A year ago, when Facebook reported its first diversity data, those numbers were 57% and 69%, respectively.

So, progress. A little bit.

"While we have achieved positive movement over the last year, it’s clear to all of us that we still aren’t where we want to be. There’s more work to do. We remain deeply committed to building a workplace that reflects a broad range of experience, thought, geography, age, background, gender, sexual orientation, language, culture and many other characteristics. It’s a big task, one that will take time to achieve, but our whole company continues to embrace this challenge," says Maxine Williams, Facebook's global director of diversity.

In terms of Facebook's senior leadership, things are pretty stagnant. A year ago the top-level was 77% male and 74% white. This year it's 77% and 73%, respectively.

Apart from just reporting 2015's diversity figures, Facebook has outlined some moves it's making to address the issue and build upon the "positive but modest change."

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First, Facebook officially confirmed that it has implemented a version of the NFL's "Rooney Rule", requiring the "underrepresented" be considered for all open positions:

Piloting a diverse slate approach in some parts of our business in the US, which means that we aspire to present hiring managers within the pilot organizations with at least one qualified candidate who is a member of an underrepresented group to fill any open role. The opportunity to compete is often the biggest hurdle for underrepresented people to overcome. This approach, similar to the Rooney Rule in the National Football League (NFL) in the US, encourages recruiters to look longer, harder and smarter for more diversity in the talent pool and ensures that hiring managers are exposed to a range of different candidates during the interview process.

Facebook also discussed its Facebook University program for picking early college kids and giving them opportunities to learn valuable skills:

We are also testing a number of efforts that provide the opportunity for those early in their college careers to learn both the soft and the hard skills it takes to succeed at Facebook. We’ve increased by a factor of four the number of freshman year paid training opportunities we offer. Our Facebook University training program (FBU) invites college freshmen, generally from underrepresented groups who demonstrate exceptional talent and interest in Computer Science, to spend most of their summer working on teams with Facebook mentors, learning the skills we are looking for at the company. FBU for Business takes the same approach for those interested in the non-engineering career tracks.

At the upper level, Facebook says it has reworked its Managing Bias course to help those in charge "surface biases that people might not even realize they have, and gives people the tools to identify and interrupt biased behavior as it occurs."

Summer is diversity figures season, as many tech companies will be reporting their workforce makeup in the coming weeks. Last week, Twitter made a solid, albeit vague promise to make sure its workforce is more diverse.

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf