Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Executive Diversity Chief
Facebook’s surprising diversity report showed marked improvement in hiring of women and minorities. While the report shows that Facebook is still overwhelmingly white and male the improvements show that Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Executive Diversity Chief, is having an effect on the company. Facebook’s report revealed 35 percent of its staff are women, up from 33 percent a year ago. The number of number of women in leadership positions is up a percent to 28 percent.
Even with these improvements retention of female employees in the tech sector is a another challenge. Women are leaving the industry after hire in the face or sexism and other bias. So these numbers for Facebook can only be considered an improvement if women stay on with the company.
The report shows an increase of Hispanic employees of 4 to 5 percent and African-Americans by 2 to 3 percent. However the guys at the top are still white men making up 71 percent of the company leadership. No change there. The rest of the company leadership is held by Asians at 21 percent with other groups holding only 2 to 3 percent.
How is Williams making change happen? Along side the diversity report Williams blogged about initiatives she believes are improving Facebook’s hiring and workplace culture. She pointed out the “Diverse Slate Approach,” which encourages consideration of applicants who don’t look like the hiring managers. According to Williams Facebook has discovered that “the more people you interview who don’t look or think like you, the more likely you are to hire someone from a diverse background.” Facebook’s “Managing Inclusion,” training program teaches managers to consider what issues affect under-represented groups. Facebook believes that this training helps to build an understanding of how these employees or applicants arrived in tech the industry and what obstacles remain.
Williams believes Facebook is moving in the right direction but said, “We aren’t where we’d like to be.”
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich
Another major tech company is also touting its diversity improvements. Intel has reported that its diversity program is actually two years ahead of schedule. In a recent blog post Intel CEO Brian Krzanich claims Intel is two years ahead of its original diversity plan. “We set out to achieve by 2020 an inclusive workforce that reflects the diversity we see every day in the world around us,” he wrote. “Doing this would bring the number of female, Hispanic, African-American and Native American employees in Intel’s 50,000-strong U.S. workforce to full representation.” According to Krzanich the goal is now moved up to 2018.
Krzanich, in a stand against racism, resigned from President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council after comments the president made about the events in Charlottesville that one left one woman dead. According to Krzanich he wants to “…call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues…”
Intel’s mid-year report shows the company’s five-year plan is on track to bring full representation of women, African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans in both technical and non-technical jobs. According to Intel full representation is defined as the “full market availability of women and underrepresented minorities.”
“In December of 2014, our gap to full representation was 2,300 employees. Today that gap has narrowed to 801 people, a 65 percent improvement, said Krzanich.
But like Facebook and other tech companies white and Asian men still represent almost all top management positions. More than 90 percent of Intel’s mid to senior-level technical roles are white and Asian men. Intel is also dealing with a retention problem with women and minorities. The company says it has added “diversity playbooks” and other programs to help managers hire and retain under-represented groups.
Although diversity in the tech sector is a real issue, and progress is epically slow, there is progress. According to workplace culture and company review platform Comparably companies are doing better.
Comparably has come out with a list of the top ten companies that are doing better than most in the area of workplace diversity. The scores of these companies are on a 0-100 scale and based how female employees rate their experience at the company. The diversity score is based on how employees of color rate their experience at a company. Here is Comparably’s list for women.