By Robert Stitt
Mere weeks after Google released demographic data on employment showing that only 2 percent of their workforce was black, another tech giant, Facebook, has come under scrutiny for its own lack of minority hiring. While there was always a suspicion that statistics were this low, the actual data behind the Silicon Valley tech giants’ employment demographics were unknown until recently.
Just last year, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson praised Google, Facebook and Apple for finally disclosing hiring data. He then encouraged them to make changes that would open doors to Blacks and Latinos, since the vast majority of positions, especially those in management, were held by Whites and Asians.
Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he was going to take action to make the firm more diverse. Over the last year, the percentage of White employees did decrease to 55 percent, down 2 percent. Those percentages did not go to minorities, however. Instead, the percentage of Asian workers increased to 36 percent, up from 34 the year before.
News One reports that the number of “Hispanics and blacks or those of ‘two or more races’ remained flat at 4 percent, 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively.”
The Guardian reported that as of the latest EEO filing, there were only 45 Black employees at Facebook out of 4,263 employees in the United States. Only 11 of those 45 employees were female. None of the executive or senior management staff were Black.
Google has taken strides to improve its diversity and is putting $150 million into projects such as embedding engineers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, increasing the number of minority and female scientists and computer experts in movies and television to encourage youth of all colors and genders to pursue those careers, and teaching computer coding to high school students of color.
Moves like this will not only help Google, but all of Silicon Valley. Per USA Today, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, says “the key to getting more women and minorities into the technology field has to start with improvements to education. We are not going to fix the numbers for under-representation in technology or any industry until we fix our education system.’”
If Google’s efforts prove successful, you can bet that Facebook and Apple will not be far behind in implementing their own programs in HBCUs, as well as minority high schools across the nation.