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Facebook still isn’t very diverse, but it wants you to know it’s trying

Roughly 90 percent of Facebook’s U.S. employees are either white or Asian.


Facebook is still a mostly white, mostly male tech company. But it wants you to know that it’s trying to fix that.

Facebook published its employee demographic data on Thursday, revealing data very similar to what the company reported last year around this time. The key metrics:

  • Facebook’s U.S. employees are 90 percent white or Asian, down from 91 percent in 2015.
  • Facebook’s senior leadership is 92 percent white or Asian, down from 94 percent last year.
  • Men account for 83 percent of Facebook’s technical jobs, a slight improvement from last year, when men had 84 percent of these positions.
  • Women make up 27 percent of Facebook’s senior leadership, up from 23 percent in 2015. This was, on paper, the company’s biggest improvement.

No, these are not significant changes. But they are small improvements.

Maxine Williams, Facebook’s global director of diversity, was keen to point out that while the baseline numbers have not changed much, Facebook is trending in the right direction. Take hiring, for example. Just 3 percent of Facebook’s senior leadership is black, but 9 percent of the senior leadership hires over the past year have been black, Williams said.

How is Facebook going about diversifying its new hires? Well, one move has been to implement a version of the NFL’s Rooney Rule, where at least one minority candidate must be interviewed for each open position. A handful of Facebook teams started using this strategy last summer, but others have since joined in, Williams said.

Facebook also offers a summer internship program specifically for women and minority students in their freshman year of college (and has for the past three years). Facebook just hired its first full-time employee from one of those previous classes. “You will not see that [program] affecting our bottom line numbers in the next 365 days because those people are freshmen or sophomores,” Williams explained. “But we hope that in a few years you will.”

As part of Thursday’s announcement, Facebook will also donate $15 million to over the next five years.’s mission is to increase access to coding and computer science classes for women and minorities.

Diversity is not just a Facebook issue. None of Silicon Valley’s tech giants is very diverse. It’s why companies like Facebook and Google started publishing these diversity reports in the first place, to publicly acknowledge the numbers and thereby spur change.

What we’ve learned in the three years since is that diversifying an industry that has been dominated for decades by white men is going to take some time.

“We’re looking at a ten year horizon at a minimum if — if — everyone takes it seriously and invests,” Williams said.

This article originally appeared on

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