*Facebook’s latest diversity report shows little improvement, despite the company’s efforts to avidly drive diversity in the tech space with the likes of its TechPrep program, which was launched in 2015.
“Facebook says it’s having trouble hiring people of color because public schools are failing to educate them properly,” Damon Beres reported for The Huffington Post.
As the news site notes, “Facebook isn’t hiring high school students. And it also has a whole lot of jobs that have nothing to do with computer science. Those roles are also mostly occupied by white people, though the genders are close to balanced.”
The company is 52 percent white, 38 percent Asian, 4 percent Hispanic and 2 percent black, according to diversity numbers released Thursday. Sixty-seven percent of Facebook employees are male overall.
In a blog post about the data, Maxine Williams, Facebook’s global head of diversity, offered the following excuse about the social network’s diversity status: “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” she wrote.
The so-called ‘pipeline’ problem is a familiar argument, and it’s valid to an extent. It’s true that computer science isn’t a requirement in many public high schools, which theoretically means the populations most dependent on public education are less well-equipped to pursue engineering in college.
Facebook’s blog post explains that minorities and females were less likely to take the College Board’s Advanced Placement exam in Computer Science, for example. “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,” Williams wrote.
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“No Black people took the exam in nine states including Mississippi where about 50% of high school graduates are Black, and 18 states had fewer than 10 Hispanics take the exam with another five states having no Hispanic AP Computer Science (CS) test takers,” she added.
Leslie Miley, director of engineering at Slack and an outspoken advocate of diversity in Silicon Valley, said in an interview with The Huffington Post that Facebook’s statement was a “fu*king insult.”
“You can quote me on that,” he added.
In the last 12 months in the US, Facebook’s hires for senior leadership have included 9% Black, 5% Hispanic and 29% women.