Facebook's black employees still only 1.5% of staff despite diversity gains

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Facebook has almost doubled its number of black employees, but African Americans still represent less than 1.5% of the social networking company’s 5,479 US employees, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Mark Zuckerberg’s company hired 36 black employees last year out of a total headcount increase of 1,216.

Facebook released the figures in its confidential 2014 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) filing after it was heavily criticised following a Guardian report that it hired just seven black people in 2013.

Facebook diversity

The report shows that while the number of black staff increased from 45 to 81, the proportion of black employees barely changed: ticking up from 1.06% to 1.47%. It comes despite the company declaring that “diversity is essential to achieving our mission”.

The filing shows that Facebook now has black employees among its most senior positions for the first time. However, there are just two black men and one black woman among the 238-strong executive and senior management team.

Over the same period, Facebook hired an additional 603 white people (72% of whom were male). The overall proportion of white employees decreased slightly from 59% to 57%.

The company hired 459 Asian people, which took up the proportion up from 33% to 34%. The proportion of Hispanic employees increased from 3.3% to 3.9%. Those from “two or more races” increased from 2.9% to 3%.

Facebook also made little progress increasing the proportion of female employees, 68% of its global employees are male – a decrease of 1%. Among its employees working on its core technology 84% are male, down from 85% last year.

When Facebook released its first diversity report, Maxine Williams, its global head of diversity, said: “At Facebook, diversity is essential to achieving our mission.

“We need a team that understands and reflects many different communities, backgrounds and cultures. Research also shows that diverse teams are better at solving complex problems and enjoy more dynamic workplaces. So at Facebook 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.”

In the latest diversity report, last week, Williams admitted that “it’s clear to all of us that we still aren’t where we want to be”.

“There’s more work to do. We remain deeply committed to building a workplace that reflects a broad range of experience, thought, geography, age, background, gender, sexual orientation, language, culture and many other characteristics,” she said. It’s a big task, one that will take time to achieve, but our whole company continues to embrace this challenge.”

In May, Zuckerberg said: “We have the same talent bar for everyone. But we want to find a disproportionate number of candidates who are women and minorities.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Rupert Neate in New York, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 1st July 2015 20.27 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010