Facebook: Lack of available talent is at fault for poor diversity report

18 Jul 2016

Facebook has released its latest diversity report and, after another poor diversity showing, the company has blamed a lack of available talent.

Facebook and many other Silicon Valley companies began publishing diversity reports on their employees after a number of voices demanded that they highlight the obvious lack of diversity within the sector’s ranks.

Now, in its latest report, Facebook has shown again that white and Asian males dominate its tech employee numbers accounting for 94pc of its workforce, followed by Hispanic at 3pc and black at just 1pc.

Familiar stats

Gender, too, is very skewed with men accounting for 83pc of Facebook’s total tech employees globally.

A similar disparity is seen when it comes to senior positions within the company. While not as bad as its overall tech numbers, figures show that women make up just 27pc of senior roles at Facebook.

Going back to the racial makeup in the US, senior leadership figures show a largely white management team, accounting for 71pc, followed by Asian (21pc) and black and Hispanic management accounting for 3pc each.

Facebook diversity race.

The racial make-up of Facebook

These figures are not particularly new for Facebook, or any of the major tech companies, who have all discussed the need for greater balance in the workplace, which these reports are supposed to highlight.

Now, defending its poor showing two years after it issued its first diversity report, Facebook said that few of the people they want to hire are actually going for these jobs and laid the blame squarely on the educational system.

Gender makeup

The gender make-up of Facebook

The diverse graduates are not coming through

“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,” Facebook said.

Citing available data, the company statement continued: “Currently, only one-in-four US high schools teach computer science. In 2015, seven states had fewer than 10 girls take the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam and no girls took the exam in three states.”

According to Facebook, no African-American students took this computer science exam in nine states in the US, including states with populations that are around 50pc African-American, such as Mississippi.

As is typical with many of the announcements made following the publishing of a diversity report, Facebook has revealed it will spend $15m over the next five years funding the Code.org initiative.

Concluding, the company said: “While there is a lot of distance to cover in the short, medium and long term, we’re moving in the right direction.”

Facebook sign image via Katherine Welles/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic