Facebook, Oh Facebook, Part III.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. CREDIT: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. CREDIT: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma.

Rather than someone putting out highly questionable content, this time it’s the company itself. FB has been taken to task over its lack of diversity, and that lack is still in place. According to the company, that just isn’t their fault, no. There aren’t any women or PoC who are qualified! They just aren’t there, only white guys are qualifying for working at FB.

On Thursday, Facebook released its latest diversity numbers and didn’t have much to show for increases in women and people of color. Its technical workforce is 48 percent white and 83 percent male, while just 3 percent is Hispanic, 1 percent is black, and 17 percent is female. That’s just a 2 percent increase in its female technical workforce from 2014, while its numbers on black and Hispanic workers in that area didn’t budget at all.

The company said on Thursday that it’s “been working hard” to increase the diversity among its ranks. But it also indicated that the hardest work must be done by others.

“It has become clear that at the most fundamental level, appropriate representation in technology or any other industry will depend upon more people having the opportunity to gain necessary skills through the public education system,” Maxine Williams, global head of diversity, wrote in the release of its data. The company indicated to the Wall Street Journal that the main problem is an empty pipeline — that there just aren’t enough skilled people of color and women to hire in the technology field.

Interesting that they have a woman making the statement. I wonder if they think that’s going to make people think they are telling the truth? “Look, we have a woman in charge of diversity, and she says…

But that explanation ignores the numbers. A USA Today investigation in 2014 concluded that black and Hispanic people were graduating with computer science and engineering degrees from top-tier universities at twice the rate that they were getting hired by big tech firms. That year, the workforces of technology companies in Silicon Valley were just 2 percent black and 3 percent Hispanic on average. But 4.5 percent of all new graduates with bachelor’s degrees in the field from prestigious universities were black and 6.5 percent were Hispanic.

Women have a similar experience. A 2013 report from the Census Bureau found that among college graduates with science and engineering degrees, men were employed in science, technology, engineering, or math at twice the rate of women — 31 percent for men versus 15 percent for women. A different report from last year found that four years after they graduate, less than a quarter of female computer science and engineering majors get a job in their field.

One half of the problem is on the hiring side, where white, male employees have been found to be more likely to hire people who look like them than others in all industries. Technology also thinks of itself as a “meritocracy” where people succeed on skills alone, no matter what they look like, which ignores implicit biases. For example, many people are turned away from jobs for not being a “culture fit,” which can also be read as not fitting in with an already white and male office.

Ohhh, not a “culture fit.” So that’s the new name of the white boys club. This problem certainly isn’t Facebook’s alone, the whole tech industry suffers from culture fit, with a variety of excuses for remaining that way. It’s past time for STEM fields to stop all that mirror gazing, and actually look at that vast pool of people who would like a job. I’m pretty sure if you look hard enough, you might manage to see people who aren’t white, and and aren’t male. In the meantime, don’t place your failures on the shoulders of people who have studied and worked their asses off, and put up with discrimination and microaggressive environments, just so they can do the work they love, and would like to be employed in.

Via Think Progress.


  1. rq says

    It’s really sad; Facebook has both the money and the platform to be a gamechanger (or at least a proper role model) in this area, and they’re really, really not getting any better at it.

  2. says

    Yes, it is sad, and it’s so much more than that, because they aren’t just handwaving this, they are actually blaming people who have put up with mass amounts of shit to qualify for such work.

  3. AlexanderZ says


    For example, many people are turned away from jobs for not being a “culture fit,” which can also be read as not fitting in with an already white and male office.

    is just pathetic.
    I have a sneaking feeling that the same people who support and use the “culture fit” excuse also decry any attempt at feminist and/or anti-racist progress as “cultural warfare” if not “cultural Marxism”.

Leave a Reply