By Queenie Wong
Mercury News, July 15, 2016 —
MENLO PARK — Facebook’s workforce has been growing, but it still isn’t very diverse this year, data released Thursday by the social media giant show.
In the United States, most of the company’s employees are white and Asian. About 4 percent of Facebook’s employees nationwide are Hispanic and 2 percent are black, which is the same compared with 2015.
About 52 percent of Facebook’s U.S. workforce is white and about 38 percent is Asian, according to data from June 2016.
Globally, about 67 percent of Facebook employees are men compared with 33 percent of women, a slight improvement compared with last year. While the percentage of minority employees in senior leadership positions is still low, the company did grow the number of women in these jobs.
“We still have a long way to go, but as we continue to strive for greater change, we are encouraged by positive hiring trends,” Maxine Williams, Facebook’s global director of diversity, wrote in a blog post.
Over the past 12 months, senior leadership hires at Facebook were 9 percent black, 5 percent Hispanic and 29 percent women in the United States, Williams noted.
With a mission to connect the world, Facebook has said that hiring a diverse workforce is an important part of its business. But like other Silicon Valley tech firms such as Google, the company has struggled to significantly change the racial and gender makeup of its workforce. Google’s diversity data released in June also showed that the company’ workforce is still dominated by white and Asian men.
From programs aimed at helping minority students enter the tech industry to employee training about unconscious bias, Facebook said it’s been trying to make its workforce more diverse.
The company also said Thursday that it’s committing $15 million over the next five years to Code.org, a nonprofit aimed at increasing the number of women and minorities who pursue computer science.
But unlike other tech firms such as Pinterest and Twitter, the company hasn’t outlined its hiring goals for the year. In February, Facebook’s CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg also scolded employees for crossing out “black lives matter” and replacing the phrase with “all lives matter” on a signature wall at the company’s headquarters.
Meanwhile, civil rights advocates are calling on Silicon Valley tech firms such as Facebook to do more.
“To do the same things over and over again that are not working is a farce,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson, president and founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said in a statement.
He said that Facebook’s 2016 workforce data reflected the “disconcerting lack of progress” by Silicon Valley companies when it comes to diversity, noting that minorities need more opportunities to work at these companies and take on leadership roles. Facebook should set measurable goals, timetables and targets for diversity and the government should apply more pressure by passing anti-discrimination laws, he said.
For the first time, Facebook also shared data about its LGBT workforce in the United States. The company conducted a voluntary employee survey about sexual orientation and gender identity. About 61 percent responded and 7 percent self-identified as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender or asexual, Facebook said.
Facebook has been adding to its workforce this year.
As of March, Facebook had 13,598 employees, according to its website. In December 2015, the company had 12,691 employees, data from its annual report showed.
Contact Queenie Wong at email@example.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/QwongSJ.