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Facebook Businesses

Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo 265

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the but-how-many-are-brogrammers? dept.
theodp (442580) writes Facebook is mostly white dudes, writes Valleywag's Sam Biddle, cutting to the chase of Facebook's inaugural disclosure of diversity figures. "We're serious about building a workplace that reflects a broad range of experience, thought, geography, age, background, gender, sexual orientation, language, culture and many other characteristics," said Facebook, which has a tech workforce that's 15% female and only 1% Black. By contrast, Wikipedia's Baseball Color Line article notes that "by the late 1950s, the percentage of blacks on Major League teams matched or exceeded that of the general population." So, is it surprising that the company whose stated mission is "to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected" is having problems connecting with the general population in 2014?
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Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

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  • SO (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:49AM (#47324335)

    Who cares? This isn't a national tragedy.

    • Re: SO (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I hope companies can hire the most talented candidate and not base decisions on something else. Reverse racism is still racism.

    • Re:SO (Score:5, Insightful)

      by James Clay (2881489) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @12:05PM (#47325777)
      The article is wrong. Facebook (and Google and Yahoo) isn't mostly white guys. It is mostly white and Asian guys. White representation in tech is not, by and large, larger than their percentage of the population at large. It is that Asians are vastly "over represented". These articles always lump Asians in with the white guys because they have no interest in pointing out that if your metric is proportional representation you are talking about getting rid of Asians.
      • Re:SO (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @12:15PM (#47325861) Journal

        That's because the Asian-American experience doesn't speak in favor of the sort of social engineering desired by the types that favor affirmative action and other sorts of reverse discrimination. They're literally at a loss to explain why the Asian-American community isn't mired in poverty in spite of the best efforts of the evil white man to keep them down. They also ignore the experiences of the multitude of different white peoples (Italians, Irish, Poles, etc.) that faced discrimination and somehow managed to build productive lives for themselves and their progeny.

        The only answer they have is to take from the successful and give to the unsuccessful, which brings to mind the quote about teaching a man to fish....

      • by ahaweb (762825)
        Asians are the invisible demographic.
      • well according to the bullshit and ever changing definition of 'racism' and 'minority' Asians aren't always considered a minority. Since compared to whites they have higher average incomes, lower incarceration rates, and better educational attainment.

        If there has ever been a field that is democratic it's technology. Up until (and it's probably still the case) all you need is a computer (price is constantly decreasing), internet access (still decreasing in price), and possibly a book or two(still cheap), a

    • by k6mfw (1182893)
      In ways it is a tragedy. There's a violence ridden ghetto right between two of most wealthiest companies Facebook and Google.
  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:52AM (#47324369) Homepage

    What is the percentage of black, women, etc people with the skills and training that google, facebook, etc is looking for?

    Are there out of work fully qualified programmers that can't work at facebook because they are black? Maybe the ratio is the way it is simply because there are not enough minorities looking for high end development work (Unlike baseball). That doesn't make it Facebook's fault if it is truly hiring the most qualified workers.

    • The can of worms... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ZeroPly (881915)
      ... congratulations on opening it without any further ado...

      Is it really skills and training? Or is it something more innate like IQ or visualization ability, especially for the technical jobs? Do we really want to find out?
      • by rlwhite (219604)

        The females and minorities I've worked with have had equal ability. It seems that there's just far more white men in the US that are inclined to be software developers than there are females and minorities who are inclined to do so. Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and many others are merely reflecting the demographics of the broader industry.

        Sure, you can emphasize females in computer science education as Google is doing, and you'll likely see some improvement in the numbers, but we'll probably never see a 50/50

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          The females and minorities I've worked with have had equal ability. It seems that there's just far more white men in the US that are inclined to be software developers than there are females and minorities who are inclined to do so. Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and many others are merely reflecting the demographics of the broader industry.

          I think it's just demographics of who goes into CS and engineering, though slightly skewed because I could swear a majority of students in STEM tracks were Asian, not white. T

    • by hsmith (818216) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:14AM (#47324583)
      I went to a local Google office yesterday to watch the IO keynote.

      Number of people in the room? 40

      Number of women in the room? 2, 1 was from corporate.

      Free to sign up, free to attend, so where were the ladies? I think this is just another made up issue people are looking to find a solution for.
    • by unimacs (597299)
      Part of the problem happens well before Facebook or anyone else has a job opening. Not everyone has equal access to the education required for many of these positions.

      Another part of the problem is the hiring process itself. An initial requirement for one position I've taken in the past was a Masters degree in computer science or related field. Nothing about the job required a Masters degree and they got no applicants. The reason for the requirement? The hiring managers all had MBAs. There is a tendency
    • by pla (258480) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @11:01AM (#47325043) Journal
      What is the percentage of black, women, etc people with the skills and training that google, facebook, etc is looking for?

      Black [cra.org]: Blacks make up only 3.6% of CS graduates, 6% of CE graduates, and 7% of generic IT graduates at the moment.
      Female [wikipedia.org]: Female CS/CE graduates peaked in the '80s at 37%, and has fallen ever since to a current low of only 12%; the previous link also shows them at about 50% higher rates in generic IT, or 17% total.

      Sorry if that doesn't give your axes a nice fine edge, folks, but the likes of Google, Yahoo, and Facebook don't hire only misogynist racists for their HR departments - In fact, all three soundly beat the above graduation rates, making them arguably biased against hiring white males.
      • Even taking into account the lowest of your figures of 3.6% black graduates in Computer Science, this would still leave the 1% rate of black employees at Facebook substantially lower than their potential hiring pool. Also consider that Facebook reported that their percentage of black employees among non-tech workers is not any better at a measly 2%. Considering that blacks represent 10% of all college graduates [directemployers.org], this would imply that your average black college graduate is 5 times less likely to be hired at

    • What is the percentage of black, women, etc people with the skills and training that google, facebook, etc is looking for?

      Are there out of work fully qualified programmers that can't work at facebook because they are black? Maybe the ratio is the way it is simply because there are not enough minorities looking for high end development work (Unlike baseball). That doesn't make it Facebook's fault if it is truly hiring the most qualified workers.

      8% of MIT's class is black [mitadmissions.org] Among the general college population the numbers are closer to 14%. But even assuming Facebook, Google and Yahoo were exclusively recruiting from the top Ivy-league universities, their numbers should be significantly higher than the mere 1% of black employees that they are showing. If my company were showing such significantly different demographics from the graduate population they are recruiting from, especially among such a large employee base, we'd be under investigation for

      • by hibiki_r (649814)

        Full MIT numbers are not necessarily representative, because the majors people pick in MIT are not really all that close to those found at tech companies.

        It's like looking at STEM as a whole vs Software companies. There are plenty of women entering STEM field, they just tend to focus on the S or the M (pun not intended, really), instead of on the T and the E. And even in Engineering, you'll mostly find them working on biotechnology. You'll find plenty of them in companies working on genetics, but not on you

  • by d0rp (888607) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:56AM (#47324427)
    The "general population", and the "population of qualified tech workers" are two very different things...
    • by gregor-e (136142)
      Finding enough talent is getting nearly impossible now. As an employee of an up-and-coming Silicon Valley startup, let me assure you - the form factor of the meat package of a prospective developer has zero influence on our decision to hire.
  • by xdor (1218206) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:56AM (#47324433)
    Stop talking about this crap.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shakrai (717556)

      "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." -Chief Justice John Roberts, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1

      • The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." -Chief Justice John Roberts

        Roberts is a fool. Sure that sounds great to conservatives and libertarians, who are opposed to anti-discrimination laws out of principle (and some hidden racism) but that's not how the world actually works...because people don't stop discriminating. Sometimes it's even subconscious.

        In a perfect world without assholes, Roberts might be right, but we don't live in that world.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:58AM (#47324441)

    Why force diversity? There is nothing worthwhile in diversity in and of itself, despite the dogma of 40+ years of social engineering.

    I had to laugh at Google's I/O presentations yesterday; they were obviously finding every single non-white, non-male person, sexually ambiguous person they could find for the presentations. Don't get me wrong: None of the talks were bad; everyone was competent. But it was obvious that Google was going out of its way to seem inclusive. It just comes off as needy and foolish. "See, we're INCLUSIVE!". /notes from a white patriarch

    • by lucm (889690)

      They probably hired communication specialists from the LAPD.

    • by aicrules (819392)
      I agree. It's certainly fine for google to see that statistic and do some due diligence to make sure their are not any issues in their hiring managers/process. But the answer is almost certainly in the available pool of people who apply. I'd definitely be interested to see the percentage of people who applied that are white vs black, male vs female. If those percentages are way different than their work force make-up, then maybe there's something more to look at. However you'd then have to investigate
  • by Brannon (221550) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:04AM (#47324501)

    out of thin air. The internal demographics of these large companies reflect the demographics of graduates in the relevant fields. The right answer is to get a more diversified college population in computer engineering and computer science, which requires getting more K-12 interest in those fields amongst underrepresented groups. And that's exactly what the big companies are doing--investing in programs that will build a more diversified pipeline of future employees.

    The comparison against MLB is outrageously stupid. African-Americans were already playing baseball in high numbers in separate leagues; MLB just started poaching players from those leagues. Are you claiming that there are some all-female or all-black companies full of millions of computer engineers that Facebook could start hiring from tomorrow?

    • by Shados (741919)

      This.

      First, you start with the talent pool, which is very low on minorities and females.

      Then you cut off the 95% bottom part, as these companies get more applicants than the average tech company, and can be somewhat more picky. You have even fewer (not because women or minorities can't be good, but certain demographics statistically do better at showing off their strengths in the shark pool).

      Now of whats left, these companies have a biais to hire ultra monitivated/no work life balance/eat and dream computer

  • "So, is it surprising that the company ... is having problems connecting with the general population in 2014?"

    Stupid loaded question. It is not having problems "connecting with the general population", unless by "connecting" you mean a completely different verb.

  • HR discriminates based on gender or race rather than ability. The composition of its workforce tells us nothing about this, as correlation does not equal causation. ... which is not nearly click-baitey enough, so we get tripe like this "article".

  • I am positive these big companies go out of their way to only hire white dudes. I bet the CEOs all have white sheets and pointy hats in their closets.
  • This debacle with people complaining about Silicon Valley's low female/minority hiring rate sounds to me like a case of segregation by choice - Facebook, Google, et al are not actually discriminating against females or minorities. There's just no evidence of it, because if there was, there would be federal lawsuits pending. What this sounds like is a case of segregation by choice - there aren't a whole lot of female or minority CS grads out there applying to Silicon Valley firms. Attempting to regulate segr

    • by hsmith (818216)
      Perhaps it is because people don't find those companies do anything worth note. Google and Facebook try to recruit me once a year and I simply have no interest in working for them - I don't find anything compelling that they do for me personally. Perhaps females want to work somewhere that has a better mission than what they offer?

      Everyone is looking for the discrimination angle but I think it is simpler than that.
  • A beige hermaphroditic dwarf with a Mohawk and a love for Polka and yodeling with vegan nudists on double shifts..
  • Weird comments (Score:2, Informative)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669)

    I've been reading a few comments about how poor people can't afford technology.

    We're in 2014, I don't believe such arguments. You can easily get more-than-capable computers for absolutely free. It may be older Pentium 4 era computers, but you can still code, program and use the Internet with them. You don't need powerful computers for the things that Facebook, Twitter and others are doing. And we're also not talking about games or HD video here, so even a low-end DSL connection will be sufficient.

    • Strangely, even in 2014, there are still low income people don't have computers. Around here part of the problem is that tech recyclers have shown up to recycle the machines that might have gone to lower income people, to sell those to small businesses and non-profits. The computers the non-profits/small businesses replace basically get junked (maybe even sent overseas) because they're VERY old. (P3's/older P4's)

      Also, since poorer people don't have computers, they can't take advantage of the geek resource

    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      It's a class issue all around. Just because a poor person can afford an inexpensive compter doesn't mean they will have the time and money to attend college. Degree's aren't strictly necessary but you need some combination of experience, education, and genius. A degree is something that is more and more considered a given for young adults from the middle class. Meanwhile the minorities that are frequently of the most concern when talking about diversity in the work place are over represented among the ranks

    • by unimacs (597299)
      I happen to have a phone number at work that is almost identical to the one people call for energy assistance. I get calls on a regular basis from people who can't pay the gas bill or electric bill. Do you think they can afford DSL?
  • I call bullshit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:21AM (#47324661)

    can we get over these complete bullshit stories about gender and race prejudice in high tech offices? Nothing I have seen during my 35 years of being a software developer at many different companies has suggested this is even remotely true.

    Literally every company I have ever worked at has gone above and beyond all existing laws to make sure there is absolutely no racial or gender-prejudice in hiring in any way . In fact they err on the side of caution so much it actually seems to be a positive advantage at interview time to be a female, or racial minority, or disabled. if you're all 3 you could probably name your own salary (joke).

    I refuse to believe that these days anyone can't get a job at a high-tech company just because of skin color, gender or racial origin. Not least because if they could even slightly prove that, they could sue and it would be all over the news, and the companies themselves are hyper-sensitive to this.

    I'd bet a stack on that the fact that high-tech companies are still more filled with white guys than anything else solely because that where nearly all the (actually suitable) job applications come from in the first place.

    If you want to force an actually very biassed and unnatural 50% racial and gender balance in the work place, then you need to look at why its still mostly white guys that apply in the first place, not blame the companies for hiring from the pool of suitable applicants who are actually out there.

    • by unimacs (597299)
      Every company I've ever worked for at the very top level of management says all the right things. At the same time I've personally witnessed hiring practices that excluded people who didn't fit the mold, - some applications being rejected based solely on fact the applicant's name wasn't "American" enough. The latter was for a technical position. I reported it and soon left. I doubt much was done because the hiring manager was on the fast track to move up in that organization.

      I don't think a company's lev
  • Awesome (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:21AM (#47324669)
    So when can we expect to see the diversity reports on players in the NFL and NBA? How about gender diversity as it relates to employment in the healthcare industry?
  • If employee populations should be representative of customers, would Facebook be better off if they made the education and salary of their employees representative of their users? If paid their engineers $50k a year and hired mostly non-STEM majors? Would your hospital deliver better health care if its medical staff was representative of its patients in terms of education and salary? Would teachers teach better if they were representative of the student population? The whole point of an economy and division

    • by unimacs (597299)

      Of course, as far as race is concerned, it is just irrelevant. I mean, who but a racist would seriously believe that you have to be (fill in some race) in order to write web software for (same race)?

      Unfortunately it is not irrelevant. Few people believe that a black person CAN'T do software development (for example). However it's a hard road for many, many black people to take, - especially if they are poor, which black people disproportionally are. What you have to realize is that even though the legal barriers have fallen, the social and economic barriers are alive and well.

      I'll give you an example. I don't know if you're familiar with the radio show "This American Life". Anyway, on one episode t

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        You're completely missing the point. Facebook says (I'm paraphrasing) "we need to be racially diverse in order to be able to develop software for our racially diverse user community". That means that they are saying that people of one race can't develop software for people of another race. That's racist.

        What you are getting at, namely the fact that African Americans and Latinos are statistically underrepresented in high tech, is obvious. But when you're saying that "inequalities in our society are deeply in

        • by unimacs (597299)
          Aren't all youth cultures in the US part of the society as a whole? Doesn't one culture affect another? To me these things are all related, - all connected. You can't simply say that the problem is for the parents and kids of minority communities to fix, - although it's a very convenient solution to suggest for those outside of those communities. And also I can't think of any parent who doesn't want their child to achieve academically. You may have young peers who value other skills more, - regardless of et

  • At the end of the day there is a SHORTAGE of qualified IT professionals. We need all the qualified tech workers we can get our hands on.

    Big companies like FB, Microsoft, Google etc are SCARED SHITLESS from getting their image ruined by a big public discrimination lawsuit. You know why? because the maximum amount of compensation is UNLIMITED. That means it takes one badly handled discharge or some bigoted idiot to lose millions.

    Why do you think they keep hammering their equality statements etc? A: Reputa
  • by erp_consultant (2614861) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:37AM (#47324815)

    You know, the deeper we look into these kinds of issues the more interesting it gets.

    The real question here is not "why are there so few minorities at Company X" it's "why are there so few qualified candidates from minority group X to fill open positions?". We already have diversity legislation in place at Universities in America. In fact, there are more women graduates than men. Yet so few of the females grads are getting degrees in CS. Why is that? It is certainly not because of lack of opportunity. Could it be that maybe - just maybe - women don't want to be programmers?

    How about African Americans and other minority groups? Well, clearly the number of University students as a percentage of the total population is much lower than society in general. The question is why? Partly economic to be sure. But loans and grants are available to nearly everyone. Yet the number of black and latino college entrants is far lower, on a percentage basis, than they are for whites. Why is that?

    Is it possible that, in general, black and latino kids just don't put as high a value on a college education as white kids do? And, therefore, just don't work as hard to get the good grades necessary to get into a good college? What part does having children out of wedlock play in this? Black and latino women have a much higher instance of this than either white or Asian women.

    I'm not trying to point fingers or cast blame here and I certainly don't pretend to have all the answers. But it does raise some interesting questions.

    • by jmd (14060)

      >> Is it possible that, in general, black and latino kids just don't put as high a value on a college education as white kids do? And, therefore, just don't work as hard to get the good grades necessary to get into a good college? What part does having children out of wedlock play in this? Black and latino women have a much higher instance of this than either white or Asian women.

      My father was a professor of education and his main focus was in the public education system. K-12 and beyond. In his writi

      • Well said. I think that the environment that a person grows up in is a much bigger factor than race or gender. If your parents don't instill in you the value of a good education then many kids will miss out on that. Growing up poor already puts many of these kids at a disadvantage. Having parents that don't stress education just makes it worse. For the vast majority of these disadvantaged kids, education is the only way out. Sure, maybe you'll get a sports scholarship but that's a long shot.

        I think that Aff

  • I love everyone complaining about diversity at the tech companies and comparing against the diversity of the general population. The problem is that is not the pool they can hire from. They can only hire from the pool of people graduating with degrees in things like computer science, software engineering, computer engineering, or have great personal knowledge/experience in those fields. That is the diversity pool that they have to work from. I forget which company it was, but last year one company hired 50%
    • Good thing they didn't hire 33% or 66% of all the African American new graduates.

    • ...education right now. One important question is whether the relatively lucrative STEM fields, like Software Development in this case, are drawing from candidate pools that are skewed toward certain demographics simply because those demographics have greater access to resources and encouragement in the first place.

      So if American Blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented in the Software Development field compared to the overall American population, one question to ask is, is it because Blacks and Hispanics

      • by russotto (537200)

        So if American Blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented in the Software Development field compared to the overall American population, one question to ask is, is it because Blacks and Hispanics are "simply not interested" in Software Development, or is it because they generally come from less affluent backgrounds, in school districts that cannot afford to provide the same resources toward educating and encouraging students who might otherwise be interested in these fields?

        I believe you'll find the differen

        • by QilessQi (2044624)

          I believe you'll find the difference, at least for blacks is not fully explainable by economic factors. There is a significant middle-and-upper-class black population.

          Here's some data on economic factors separating American black families and white ones. TL;DR: the presence of a few successful black families in America does not negate the fact that white households continue to have significantly higher median incomes, and thus, access to greater resources for their children:

          - http://www.pewsocialtrends.org... [pewsocialtrends.org]
          - http://www.pewresearch.org/fac... [pewresearch.org]
          - http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

          Just because the difference between a person with intelligence and talent and one without in more cerebral fields isn't as obvious as the difference between a person with talent in sports and one without doesn't mean the difference isn't there.

          But the range of opportunities are totally different. Software development is not a "geniuse

          • by russotto (537200)

            I didn't say economic factors didn't matter; I said they weren't sufficient. Something like 33% of black households earn more than $50,000 per year, compared to 52% of white households. For $75,000 and up, it's 18% compared to 32%. For $100,000 and up, it's 9.3% compared to 20.1%.

            So perhaps by economic factors alone you'd expect black tech workers to be under-represented by 50% compared to white people. Non-Hispanic black people make up 12% of the population, non-Hispanic white 64%. Facebook has 53% w

  • ...it seems like this is obviously due to larger cultural factors with the *applicants* rather than with the people doing the hiring.

    The idea that HR departments at both Facebook and Google could be not only both racist, but equally racist, defies imagination.

    On the other hand, Facebook and Google draw applicants from the same demographic pool - and those whose culture is technically and academically successful happens to correlate with self-identified "race" (a sad and arbitrary distinction if there ever w

  • How can poor minorities obtain employment in the tech giants when one of the requirements is to list "lived in Mom's basement for 1 year"

  • Lets start seeing some sponsored scholarships to organizations like SACNAS ( https://sacnas.org/ [sacnas.org] ) by these companies, if we want to promote more diverse geek workforce, and not just give lip-service about it.

  • Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

    Well then, that can only mean one thing - they must all be equally racist! ...or they're not racist at all, and that's just the way the world is when it comes to finding people with the right skills for the job.

  • My entire life, I've been told diversity is a critical component of success -- building a robust and varied environment out of people from a range of different experiences, etc.

    Now you're telling me that two of the most successful companies on the entire planet are, in fact, super homogeneous?

    Yeah, right. This flies in the face of everything I was indoctrinated to believe.

    lllll AJ

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