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The chart that shows Facebook has made virtually zero progress diversifying its technical staff

FILE - In this March 15, 2013, file photo, a Facebook employee walks past a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook reports financial results on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
Still very white and male.
By Alice Truong

Deputy editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Facebook unveiled new stats on the diversity of its workforce this week (July 14), and they show change is painfully slow.

Among Facebook’s technical staff, white representation has fallen below 50% for the first time since 2014, the earliest available data from the company.

But viewed another way, there doesn’t appear to be much improvement for under-represented minorities in its technical staff. Whites and Asians collectively make up 94% of Facebook’s technical employees, unchanged over the last two years. So as Facebook has decreased the percentage of white technical staffers, it’s only increased Asian representation over that time.

The percentage of employees who are black (2%), Hispanic (4%), or two or more races (3%) have remained stagnant since 2014.

Here’s another way to look at the chart above:

Among all its US staff, whites and Asians comprise 90% of Facebook’s workforce, down a percentage point from the past two years. The company reported no gains in the percentage of Hispanic and black employees, which respectively make up 4% and 2% of its staff.

As for senior leadership at the social platform, the percentage of white execs inched down to 71%, while the percentage of Asian and Hispanic leaders stayed flat at 21% and 3%, respectively. Black staffers and employees of two or more races each saw gains of one percentage point, at 2% and 3%, respectively.

In terms of gender diversity, Facebook increased female representation by one percentage point for all employees and technical employees. But there was a much more noticeable boost among Facebook’s senior leaders, where 27% of execs are women, up from 23% the last two years.

Facebook, for its part, has used the “pipeline problem”—that there are not enough qualified minorities and women available to recruit—as an excuse for slow progress. But some aren’t buying it. ThinkProgress, for example, highlighted that blacks and Hispanics have graduated with computer science and engineering degrees at twice the rate they’re hired by tech companies, and that less than a quarter of female grads who majored in computer science and engineering are landing jobs in their fields.

“There is no talent deficit but an opportunity deficit,” said Jesse Jackson, the civil rights leader who’s pushed for improving diversity in the tech industry. “There is a pipeline of qualified board members. There is a pipeline of C-suite leaders. There are more black computer science students than are being hired.”

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