Facebook’s Fifth Annual Diversity Report Followed the Pattern of Slow Progress

The company cited ‘deep relationships’ with organizations and its diverse slate approach

Facebook released its fifth annual diversity report Thursday Facebook
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Facebook’s fifth annual diversity report, released Thursday, followed the same pattern as the company’s four previous diversity reports: progress, but at a slow pace.

Highlights from this year’s report include:

  • 100 percent pay equity for women globally.
  • The percentage of women at Facebook globally has increased to 36 percent today from 31 percent when the company first began compiling diversity reports.
  • Women in technical roles have risen from 15 percent to 22 percent.
  • Women in business and sales roles now tally 57 percent, up from 47 percent.
  • Women in senior leadership rose from 23 percent to 30 percent.
  • The number of women at Facebook has increased fivefold over the past five years, and the number of women in technical roles has jumped sevenfold.
  • The number of women graduates in software engineering has nearly doubled, to 30 percent from 16 percent, despite the total number of women undergraduates in computer science in the U.S. holding steady at 18 percent.
  • Black employees edged up from 2 percent in 2014 to 4 percent currently.
  • Hispanic employees also saw a slight gain, from 4 percent to 5 percent.
  • Black employees in business and sales roles now number 8 percent, up from 2 percent.
  • Hispanic employees in business and sales roles are also at 8 percent, up from 6 percent.
  • There has been no growth in black employees in technical roles (1 percent) and leadership roles (2 percent).
  • Hispanic employees in technical roles remained flat at 3 percent, and Hispanic employees in leadership roles actually dropped from 4 percent to 3 percent.
  • The percentage of U.S. employees who self-identify as LGBQA+ or Trans+ edged up to 8 percent this year from 7 percent in 2017.
  • Veterans now make up 2 percent of Facebook employees.

Chief diversity officer Maxine Williams said in a Newsroom post that initiatives that have been successful include building “deep relationships” with organizations that support people of color and women, such as Anita Borg/the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers, as well as implementing the diverse slate approach, which encourages hiring managers to consider candidates from underrepresented backgrounds when filling open positions.

She wrote, “We’ve worked hard at retention, as well, by creating an inclusive environment where people from all backgrounds can thrive and succeed. This includes our many Facebook resource groups, which help build community and support professional development, as well as the investments we have made to tackle bias and create an inclusive culture. Programs like Managing Bias, Managing Inclusion and Be the Ally have been very well received internally.”

As for what Facebook can do to further the cause, Waters added, “We’ve learned through trial and error that if we’re going to hire more people from a broader range of backgrounds, it’s not enough to simply show up at colleges and universities. We need to create practical training opportunities for these students to build on their academic experience. Programs like Crush Your Coding Interview, the Facebook University Training Program and Engineer in Residence at historically Black and Hispanic colleges and universities have all helped us recruit more women and students of color. It’s why we are expanding these programs and adding new ones.”

She continued, “For example, we recently signed a partnership with CodePath.org that will help them reach 2,000 more computer science students at over 20 universities. These include community colleges and universities that have traditionally attracted students of color. Over the next year, we will partner with the United Negro College Fund to design courses for its HBCU CS Summer Academy. We will also co-host the HBCU CS Faculty Institute in partnership with UNCF’s Career Pathways Initiative to offer faculty professional development.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.