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FB Reveals Woeful Diversity Numbers 256

theodp writes: There's more work to do," said Facebook's Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams, who issued a straight-out-of-How-to-Lie-With-Statistics diversity update on Thursday that essentially consisted of a handful of bar charts labeled with only percentages for select measures of the social networking giant's current demographics. In search of real numbers, the Guardian turned to Facebook's most recent Equal Employment Opportunity report filing, which showed that the ranks of black employees swelled by a grand total of seven (7) (1 woman) in the year covered by the filing, during which time Facebook saw an overall headcount increase of 1,231. Comparing Facebook's new bar charts of US tech employees to those issued last year shows the proportion of Hispanic and Black employees remained flat at 3% and 1% respectively, while a decline in the proportion of white employees from 53% to 51% was offset by an increase in the proportion of Asian employees from 41% to 43%.
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FB Reveals Woeful Diversity Numbers

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  • Demographics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Sunday June 28, 2015 @07:09AM (#50005641) Homepage Journal

    I wonder what the demographic breakdown of people who actually apply for jobs at FB looks like? Comparing the two would be a more valid way of looking at it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      THIS!

      About 10% of our employees are female and we have literally taken EVERY female who applied yet rejected quite a few male applicants. We have had exactly 0 Black and 0 Hispanic applicants.

      Maybe people should be looking at the students and encouraging females and people of different races to go into technical fields so we actually have people to hire.

      • Re:Demographics (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kohlrabi82 ( 1672654 ) on Sunday June 28, 2015 @07:20AM (#50005663)

        Maybe it's every person's own business which career and jobs they want to go for. I know, it's preposterous to assume that blacks, women, and all the other "minorities" can make decisions and their own.

    • Re:Demographics (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2015 @07:16AM (#50005653)

      As would be a further breakdown across something like school grades or other performance metric of those applications. Lack of diversity is a problem that is not mostly caused by discrimination but by lack of suitable candidates with a decent education, which is an issue with a nation's educational system. Once education provides equal opportunity you'll see these differences go away rapidly (what will remain are cultural differences about what young people want to become when they're still in school).

      • Re:Demographics (Score:5, Insightful)

        by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Sunday June 28, 2015 @07:52AM (#50005711)

        I went to school to speak with my daughter's teacher when she was in the third grade and struggling. We discussed her situation at length for about 30 minutes and covered a lot of possible actions to help her improve. At the end of that time her teacher thanked me profusely for coming to the meeting. I was rather surprised and stated that I was thankful to her for her time and help and would not have dreamed of failing to come. She then told me that over the past week she had scheduled 7 meetings with parents and I was the only one to actually show up. Parents are the biggest shortcoming in the education of children today. If parents do not get involved then no amount of money spent on education will accomplish much. When I was a child my parents involvement consisted of beating my ass when I had problems at school. This method, while crude, was effective. It would have been much better if they had taken the time to do more but what they did do was better than the apathy so many parents exhibit towards their children's education.

        • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Sunday June 28, 2015 @08:17AM (#50005769) Homepage

          "I went to school to speak with my daughter's teacher when she was in the third grade and struggling."

          Well there is your problem right there. If your daughter's teacher is in the third grade and struggling, then you need to find a different teacher for your daughter!

          • No, the parent is so involved that they built a time machine to identify when their child's teacher had a problem in school and went back in time to fix the problem so that they could become a great teacher for their own child to excel!

        • by Temkin ( 112574 )

          Parents are the biggest shortcoming in the education of children today.

          Have you seen the tripe that passes for curriculum these days? Believe me a certain percentage of the parents are tuning them out because they've become politically indoctrinating baby-sitters.

          Sylvan is damned expensive too...

          • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

            The basics are largely the same. Math, English and Science are key the rest of the tripe they waste time on I could do without as well. Still I remember there were 500 students in my child's elementary school and the PTA meetings were lucky to have 40 people in attendance.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by wynand1004 ( 671213 )

          "If parents do not get involved then no amount of money spent on education will accomplish much."

          I cannot agree with this enough. I am a teacher (at an international school in Tokyo). Way back when I was a student teacher in the US, we had parent/teacher night. I had one class which was a strong academic class with about 15 students. I had another class with 40 low academic students. For the class with 15 students, the parent/teacher night was full with parents - basically 100% of the students had a parent show up. For the class with 40 students only about 15 parents showed up - basically about 25%

        • It kind of requires both things, though, right? I mean, yes, having parents who are interested and encouraging, who make sure their kids are doing what they're supposed to, who can tutor them while the kids do their homework-- all that stuff helps a ton. But even if you're a great parent, if you send your kid to an underfunded school with inexperienced, underprepared, and unsupported teachers and 45 kids per class, without good books to teaching materials, etc., then you're still going to struggle to get
          • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

            Where I live the per capita spending on students has risen over the years far ahead of inflation. The results have remained largely unchanged. Money is important but a lot can be done cheaply if you have good management. Without support from a solid family structure money will make little difference. One thing I am glad to see is schools serving breakfast now. For far too many children the only meals they get are at school. Libertarian though I may be free food for children is an exception I make. It

      • While it is a shortcoming of the education system, it's not because of money. We spend more than ever per student. The problem is government schools.

        • by geoskd ( 321194 )

          While it is a shortcoming of the education system, it's not because of money. We spend more than ever per student. The problem is government schools.

          Then why is it that government schools in almost every other nation are providing better education than we see here in the states. The problem is *not* government nor is it business, it is societies views towards education and intelligence. There is a very strong anti-intelligence viewpoint in this country. This effect had seemed to be dwindling during the 50's and 60's with the advent of NASA, and the very clear results that science and technology could produce that stupidity could not. Today we are seein

    • Re:Demographics (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardpriceNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday June 28, 2015 @07:38AM (#50005685)

      Or more aptly, those who apply and are the best fit for the job - there is no point in berating a company for woeful diversity hiring figures when all they did was concentrate on hiring the best candidate.

      When it can be shown that Facebook turned down a better qualified minority candidate in order to hire a more poorly qualified white candidate, then there is an issue in hiring standards - if minority candidates are being failed by the education and social support systems to the point where we have a noticeable disparity in hireable candidates, well thats something we all need to fix properly rather than just tut at companies who would rather hire the better candidate regardless of race, colour or sex.

      • I think this story is an important one, but perhaps not for the reasons your imagining people care about this. I wouldn't necessarily berate anyone at Facebook for these statistics. Maybe they're not doing everything they should, but maybe they're doing everything they reasonable can do to hire minorities and women.

        However, the fact that there's such a huge discrepancy in hiring of black people is an indication that there's some kind of problem. Before we even get into trying to figure out where the pro

        • Well, fortunately, both problems are solved. I direct your attention first to the question of why there are more black men in prison than you would think "fair" by their fraction of the population:

          http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.... [f2s.com]

          Next up, a quick look at hiring practices. Note that this one is earlier, and does not walk you quite so explicitly through the cutoff theory.

          http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.... [f2s.com]

          If you can handle the math, that site will open your eyes.

      • Or more aptly, those who apply and are the best fit for the job - there is no point in berating a company for woeful diversity hiring figures

        Hiring a diverse team is not at odds with hiring the best fit for the job. Your quote assumes that the reason for the lack of black candidates is irrelevant, or at least should not be investigated by by hiring organizations.

        No one is suggesting hiring workers who can't do the job. That would be silly. Rather, it's important for us to quantify the lack hires, and in

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Given that especially IT jobs get an incredible number of applications from utterly non-qualified people (see http://blog.codinghorror.com/t... [codinghorror.com]), these statistics would not tell us much. Also remember that those with the worst qualifications write the most job applications, skewing the numbers further.

    • On average, just 2% of technology workers at seven Silicon Valley companies that have released staffing numbers are black; 3% are Hispanic.

      But last year, 4.5% of all new recipients of bachelor's degrees in computer science or computer engineering from prestigious research universities were African American, and 6.5% were Hispanic, according to data from the Computing Research Association

      From...
      Tech jobs: Minorities have degrees, but don't get hired/a. [usatoday.com]

  • So under-representation of BMEs and women in large tech company is the symptom. What we need to understand is the cause. Encouraging companies like FaceBook to address the issue is one approach and given their resources one that might bring about change. Perhaps Facebook could target bright kids in certain communities with fellowships and the like - try and encourage more to engage in a tech career?

    • Re:Symptom (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2015 @07:48AM (#50005707)

      How about "people can do what they like and it's none of my business"? If black people/women/transexual Muslim asexuals don't want to work in STEM how about we assume they're capable enough to reach that decision on their own, without the need to engage in social engineering to correct them. Saying "gee, these black people aren't intelligent enough to figure out they should go into science, let's convince them" is just a veiled form or racism.

      • If

        You're entire premise is based on an unsupported supposition, mixed with other random crap likethe feeble attempt at some sort of racism-reflection.

        Rcruiting through peer networks (what a lot of tech companies do) tends very strongly to hit exactly the same demographic they've already got. FBs numbers are below the numbers on the courses at uni and in the industry so it implies strongly that their recruiting message isn't getting outside a rather select demographic.

        IOW there are talented people who they

  • by codeButcher ( 223668 ) on Sunday June 28, 2015 @07:30AM (#50005679)
    How is being able to turn your profile picture into a rainbow NOT diverse???
    • by leonbev ( 111395 )

      Well... pictures of darker skinned people are kinda hard to see with a rainbow filter on them.

    • There's actually a decent chance Facebook will remove your profile (or the picture) if it is of a non-person.
  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Sunday June 28, 2015 @07:44AM (#50005699)

    Asians make up less than 6% of the population according to Google, whereas blacks are 13%. Yet the former are over 40% of the company at Facebook. If Facebook were to be made to "look like America" then a significant percentage of its labor force would have to be laid off.

    There's nothing "woeful" about these numbers. They tell us nothing about qualified black and Hispanic candidates not getting jobs. Given the interest in diversity, it's perfectly reasonable to rule out the probability that there were any because the interest in diversity would have almost invariably lead to them being given hiring priority if they applied.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      These numbers tell us that both Whites and Blacks have a serious education and qualification problem.

    • Asians make up less than 6% of the population according to Google, whereas blacks are 13%. Yet the former are over 40% of the company at Facebook.

      Include the immigrant dimension in those statistics and it makes a lot more sense. The Asian group includes Indian natives and other immigrant populations that have cultural norms very different then native populations.

      Immigrants, regardless of race, have different rates of starting businesses, pursuing higher education and career in general.

      For an accurate compa

    • Given the interest in diversity, it's perfectly reasonable to rule out the probability that there were any because the interest in diversity would have almost invariably lead to them being given hiring priority if they applied.

      You can keep on repeating the same rubbish: it doesn't become true if you say it enough.

      This is not about favouring unqualified "minorities", it's about actually getting them to apply in the first place.

      Oh and equal opportunity so that when they do apply they're not being judged based

    • by kervin ( 64171 )

      Blacks and Hispanics make up over 9% of CS grads. Source.. Tech jobs: Minorities have degrees, but don't get hired [usatoday.com]

  • Heavens forbid that the best candidates are picked! Oh the horror!

    And of course if there's a vastly smaller pool of minority and women applicants, that's the employer's fault as well! Maybe we could force them to pay to educate then train minority/women parolees and force them to hire them! That will assure private data stays private! /s*

    Strat

    *I find it rather tragic that Western culture and society has devolved so far into reactionary mob-rule that a 'sarc' tag is necessary. We used to have these things ca

  • Apparently, Facebook outsources a lot of its moderation tasks, via a Mechanical Turk like system, to whatever grim hellhole is cheapest; but still has internet access.

    I suspect that they could...impressively boost...their diversity numbers if they were just able to find a way of counting those as 'employees' without actually paying them more. The effect would probably be even stronger than any benefit Apple gets from including their retail sales/support minions in the numbers.
  • by thermowax ( 179226 ) on Sunday June 28, 2015 @08:28AM (#50005789)

    Look: I graduated from high school in 1985- far before the intarwebs were cool. I was a geek because I *wanted* to be, societal pressures notwithstanding.

    I was bullied on a daily basis. The source of the majority of this bullying was blacks. An Asian friend of mine, years later- in college- mused about his similar experience.

    I guess this can go two ways:
    1. Black culture can finally start to view academic accomplishment as "cool".
    Or:
    2. Black culture can realize that the smart kids are in charge, and they'd better adapt or learn to enjoy life in the hip-hop ghetto they've made.

    Sorry. Not my monkeys, not my circus, not my problem.

    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday June 28, 2015 @08:35AM (#50005795) Homepage Journal

      2. Black culture can realize that the smart kids are in charge, and they'd better adapt or learn to enjoy life in the hip-hop ghetto they've made.

      Black culture is largely a deliberately created phenomenon. Much of what you think of as modern black culture was actually guided and shaped by whites. While there are many black labels now, what music was produced was formerly controlled by whites. Which movies get made is still largely controlled by whites. The laws regarding private prisons are largely written and passed by whites. You want to blame everything wrong with black culture on the blacks but forgetting about slavery and ongoing, deliberate oppression which continues to this day is more than a bit disingenuous, isn't it? It's ignorant at best, and more than a little racist.

      • Couldn't really be much more on topic than discussing how we got here. Obviously some racist cowards don't want to take responsibility for their share of how the world turned out. They think you can just shit on people forever and there won't be any shit on them.

        God damn this site is broken by design.

      • by thermowax ( 179226 ) on Sunday June 28, 2015 @08:55AM (#50005853)

        If there's some Great White Conspiracy to keep the black man down, neither I nor anyone I know are part of it. Indeed, all my cohorts (including the black ones) say the same thing- something along the lines of, "Shut up, raise your kids well, buy your beer, and don't annoy your neighbors". I don't know what's so groundbreaking about that.

        I also notice that you've focussed on my second point, while ignoring the first. Care to comment? I have intimate experience, as well as reading about it all over the place- it's not a melanin thing. Black people come to the US from all over the world and do well. It's US black culture that is to blame.

        Furthermore, you whipped out the "racist" card, so here we go: shut up and behave. This may take a while to result in change... but isn't this what everyone should be doing anyway?

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          If there's some Great White Conspiracy to keep the black man down, neither I nor anyone I know are part of it.

          There isn't, the problems are more subtle than that. It's been discussed a hundred times here, can we please move on from having to repeat the basics every single time?

        • If there's some Great White Conspiracy to keep the black man down, neither I nor anyone I know are part of it.

          First, I didn't allege any such conspiracy, so you're attacking a straw man. Second, if were such a conspiracy, you'd be doing a fine job of helping it along even without knowledge.

          Indeed, all my cohorts (including the black ones)

          Ah, the appeal to authority, and it's false authority as well.

          Black people come to the US from all over the world and do well. It's US black culture that is to blame.

          You want me to address your comment while ignoring mine? That's still a created situation. What you say here does not detract from my point in the least. That's why I didn't mention it; it's not relevant.

          Furthermore, you whipped out the "racist" card, so here we go: shut up and behave.

          And I quote: Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me, motherfucker

      • by Raiford ( 599622 )
        There is something that is pretty much axiomatic regarding things of this nature (and this is important, so please listen). Rarely does blaming someone else for your condition result in a change in that condition. Even when it is someone else's fault.
    • But last year, 4.5% of all new recipients of bachelor's degrees in computer science or computer engineering from prestigious research universities were African American, and 6.5% were Hispanic, according to data from the Computing Research Association

      Source...
      Tech jobs: Minorities have degrees, but don't get hired [usatoday.com]

  • It rather about the most stupid thing you can do, because it may obscure problems, making them _harder_ to see and solve. That is if there actually is a problem. Fixing the statistic may well cause problems where there were none before.

    This is an instance of the classical cause-end-effect reversal mistake that stupid people are so likely to do. It requires intelligence low enough to not understand the difference between an implication and an equivalence. Correlation is not causation, and it is _never_ causa

  • Diversity metrics are bullshit anyways. The people that I know who were hired by Facebook were Jewish, a group that, while having white-ish skin, is just as discriminated against as blacks are.

    But is that taken into consideration? Humankind isn't divided into white, asian, hispanic, and black.
    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      The city where I live, when they had to hire someone to manage the school district and took public opinion, a lot of people were asking for diversity. We are an ethnically diverse city and that is part of the culture and it needs to be preserved.

      So we need someone that represents said diversity.

      What they repeatedly asked for? "Someone of non-euro-african or asian descent", the spanish community was asking.

      Holy shit that's diverse.

      When people ask for diversity, what they usually ask for isn't to exclude whit

  • by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Sunday June 28, 2015 @09:06AM (#50005879)

    Robert Louis Stevenson describes the White attitude towards Asians in his book "Across the Plains", his account of a train journey in America. Based on his telling, I expect that vigorous affirmative action is needed to uplift such a downtrodden ethic group.

    "Despised Races

    Of all stupid ill-feelings, the sentiment of my fellow Caucasians towards our companions in the Chinese car was the most stupid and the worst. They seemed never to have looked at them, listened to them, or thought of them, but hated them a priori. The Mongols were their enemies in that cruel and treacherous battle-field of money. They could work better and cheaper in half a hundred industries, and hence there was no calumny too idle for the Caucasians to repeat, and even to believe. They declared them hideous vermin, and affected a kind of choking in the throat when they beheld them. Now, as a matter of fact, the young Chinese man is so like a large class of European women, that on raising my head and suddenly catching sight of one at a considerable distance, I have for an instant been deceived by the resemblance. I do not say it is the most attractive class of our women, but for all that many a man’s wife is less pleasantly favoured. Again, my emigrants declared that the Chinese were dirty. I cannot say they were clean, for that was impossible upon the journey; but in their efforts after cleanliness they put the rest of us to shame. We all pigged and stewed in one infamy, wet our hands and faces for half a minute daily on the platform, and were unashamed. But the Chinese never lost an opportunity, and you would see them washing their feet—an act not dreamed of among ourselves—and going as far as decency permitted to wash their whole bodies. I may remark by the way that the dirtier people are in their persons the more delicate is their sense of modesty. A clean man strips in a crowded boathouse; but he who is unwashed slinks in and out of bed without uncovering an inch of skin. Lastly, these very foul and malodorous Caucasians entertained the surprising illusion that it was the Chinese waggon, and that alone, which stank. I have said already that it was the exceptions and notably the freshest of the three.

    These judgments are typical of the feeling in all Western America. The Chinese are considered stupid, because they are imperfectly acquainted with English. They are held to be base, because their dexterity and frugality enable them to underbid the lazy, luxurious Caucasian. They are said to be thieves; I am sure they have no monopoly of that. They are called cruel; the Anglo-Saxon and the cheerful Irishman may each reflect before he bears the accusation. I am told, again, that they are of the race of river pirates, and belong to the most despised and dangerous class in the Celestial Empire. But if this be so, what remarkable pirates have we here! and what must be the virtues, the industry, the education, and the intelligence of their superiors at home!"

  • For a public traded company management has a responsibility to maximize shareholder value, nothing more.
  • If we're going to strike a pose of moral outrage when a company's employee demographics don't match closely enough the general population demographics, are we going to cry 'injustice' if their numbers climb too high? Ie if African-Americans are 16% of the population, will we complain if they reach 24% of the Facebook employee roster?

    Why do we care?

    In 2015 do we really believe that some Snidely-Whiplash HR person is rubbing their hands together and cackling while they shred all the valid applications from b

    • In 2015 do we really believe that some Snidely-Whiplash HR person is rubbing their hands together and cackling while they shred all the valid applications from blacks and other minorities?

      No, which is part of the problem. It's a lot more subtle than that. People often don't even realize they're doing it. Look at the experiment where people with "black-sounding" names got passed over while those with "white-sounding" names got interviews, despite identical resumes and cover letters.

  • Given that Zuck is constantly begging for most H1Bs, I strongly suspect that this is a ploy to open the "expendable imported labor" tap a little wider.

    "Oh me! Oh my! My company lacks diversity! If only there were a place with millions and millions of 'minority' developers that we could hire (at below-market wages and working conditions, teehee) to balance things out!"

    What I can't figure out is why MBA types assume software developers are too stupid to see right through bullshit like this. Just because w

  • Some professions attract certain kinds of people. Where I used to live almost all restaurants were run by Greek men. Where I now live, all donut shops are run by Cambodians and the taco shops are run by hispanics. The hospitals here vary- some have mostly black staffs, some mostly Filipino and all mostly female. In Los Angeles, I'm told, the garbage industry is monopolized by Armenians. When I worked for Volkswagen in Chicago, over 90% of the technical employees were German, the rest were Austrian (not one

  • Equal numbers of other people do not have the skills.

    really, if you idiots don't stop harping on this issue, the only way they're going to improve those numbers is by replacing half their employees with Indians. There you go... company is now full of brown people. Happy now? Because now no one has a job.

    Look, you can't compare straight population numbers with how many people are hired in given professions. You have to consider graduates from the colleges that have the required degrees or get some sort of ba

  • Asians (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Sunday June 28, 2015 @11:17AM (#50006455)
    I like how Asians are simply assigned Honorary White People status when they don't fit the narrative.
  • by liquid_schwartz ( 530085 ) on Sunday June 28, 2015 @11:27AM (#50006521)
    I was talking about this to my girlfriend who is a dental assistant and I explained it this way. I first asked her how many male dental assistants she has worked with in her 10 years or so of working in that field. She said two, both gay. I then asked her what she would do if the media / government suddenly insisted that she hates men since there aren't any on the job and that she had better bring that up to a 50% ratio quickly. I asked her what she would do. She said that there wasn't any way, men didn't apply for the job. That made my point. I have another family member who is a speech pathologist, same issue - no men apply. Until these cases are addressed this is just another witch hunt.
  • I have many relatives and friends in law enforcement, from local to the federal level. This has been a topic of discussion for 30 years. Many, many minorities apply for law enforcement positions – the problem is passing the background test. The job requires a secret clearance level. Perfect credit, no arrests, college graduate - very few African American’s pass the background check. You can’t even bounce a check once you’re hired. Look at the low rates of graduation and hi
  • They'll stop having contractors as cleaning crew and security guards and quickly remedy the female and hispanic numbers.

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