People are Slamming Facebook for Blaming Its Diversity Problem on a Lack of Talent
The tech world is slamming Facebook for blaming its poor workforce diversity stats on a lack of available talent.
The backlash comes after the social media giant revealed on Thursday that it still mainly employs white men. Its diversity chief, Maxine Williams, attributed part of the issue to a pipeline problem:
"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, noting that few U.S. high schools teach computer science and that women and minorities taking those classes are even fewer.
But that statement misses the point.
There are more black and Hispanic students with engineering degrees from top universities than there are tech jobs, according to a USA Today study from late 2014. The problem isn't that there needs to be more people, Joelle Emerson, the CEO of a diversity consultancy, tells The Wall Street Journal. Facebook just needs to try harder to recruit and hire them.
"Many, like me, are very disappointed with Facebook's lack of research and effort on the issue of recruiting underrepresented talent," Kaya Thomas, a black woman studying computer science at Dartmouth College, told Business Insider via email.
"I wish that tech leaders would just be honest and admit that they've made tech culture so exclusive and toxic," she writes. "Ignoring the fact that underrepresented talent exists shows me that they don't care about diversity and they don't want us working in tech."
Facebook is far from the only tech company that has dismal diversity stats -- they show up pretty much across the board in the tech industry.
Thomas hasn't heard from Facebook regarding her blog post but has been amazed by the response so far from other people in the industry.
The hashtag #FBNoExcuses has been gaining steam on Twitter, with people pointing out that unconscious bias, recruitment habits and "culture fit" are more of a hindrance to diversity than a lack of talent.
Sr Tech Exec: Brian, how do I hire more Blacks at the company?— Brian (@brianaraujoxD) July 15, 2016
Me: Say yes? Give them the job? Actually read their resume? #FBNoExcuses
There are more qualified minority technologists in this hashtag than work at Facebook. #FBNoExcuses— Shanley (@shanley) July 15, 2016
The pipeline ain't broken. The hiring practices are. #FBNoExcuses— Tati Chin (@tatichin) July 15, 2016
as FB design's 50th+ hire I was floored when a recruiter told me I was their first non-referral candidate. it was homogenous. #FBNoExcuses— sophie xie (@puffins) July 15, 2016
"Culture fit" is a way to move the goalpost when the applicant checks all the boxes on paper. It gives these companies an out. #FBNoExcuses— James Carter (@jamescarterhr) July 15, 2016
If you can't get the candidates to come to you, then go to them. Build offices where Black and Latinx candidates want to live.#FBNoExcuses— EricaJoy (@EricaJoy) July 15, 2016
In another thread, a former Facebook hiring manager highlights what she saw as some of Facebook's issues:
but as a former hiring manager there, i can 100% attest that "lowering the bar" was mentioned basically every week w much handwringing/agony— Charity Majors (@mipsytipsy) July 14, 2016
(despite the fact that everyone admitted nobody could find any correlation between the process and how successful a candidate would be)— Charity Majors (@mipsytipsy) July 14, 2016
tbc i'm super not trying to pick on FB, it is a hard problem and many good people there are working passionately on it, just ... kool-aid.— Charity Majors (@mipsytipsy) July 14, 2016
if you're a $bigco you can afford to sort on basically anything you want, because you have 100s of applicants for every opening.— Charity Majors (@mipsytipsy) July 14, 2016
and LOTS of them are world class engineers! so pick a few things, hire great ppl, congratulate yourself. *that's* where bias creeps in ?— Charity Majors (@mipsytipsy) July 14, 2016