Facebook releases diversity figures: They look a lot like Google's and Yahoo's

The verdict? The company is mostly white and male

Published June 26, 2014 4:00PM (EDT)

  (Reuters/Robert Galbraith)
(Reuters/Robert Galbraith)

For the first time ever, Facebook released its workplace diversity figures. The numbers were made public yesterday, in a blog post written by Global Head of Diversity Maxine Williams. The company is mostly male, white and Asian.

This public disclosure, of both gender and diversity statistics, follows the trend of other large tech companies, spurred by a late May release from Google. Since Google made its numbers public Chegg, LinkedIn and Yahoo have also released their workforce breakdown.

Sadly, Facebook's numbers look a lot like the other four. I'll let the figures speak for themselves:

Globally the company is 69 percent male, 31 percent female. In terms of ethnicity the company is 57 percent white, 34 percent Asian, 4 percent Hispanic, 3 percent two or more races, 3 percent black and 0 percent other.

Scrutinized further, in the tech force of Facebook, 85 percent are male and 15 percent are female. In terms of ethnicity in the tech division 53 percent are white, 41 percent are Asian, 3 percent are Hispanic, 2 percent are two or more races, 1 percent is black and 0 percent is other.

Globally, leadership is 77 percent male, and 23 percent female. Facebook's leadership in the U.S. is also mostly white -- 74 percent. Leadership at the company is 19 percent Asian, 4 percent Hispanic, 2 percent black and 1 percent two or more races.

The non-tech workforce is 53 percent male, 47 percent female, 63 percent white, 24 percent Asian, 6 percent Hispanic, 4 percent two or more races, 2 percent black and 1 percent other.

"As these numbers show, we have more work to do – a lot more," Williams wrote. Yep, that's for sure.

Williams also stated that the company was working toward building a more diverse workforce. These efforts include partnering with organizations like the Anita Borg Institute, Girls Who Code, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and Yes We Code.

Releasing the figures and working with these groups are both important strides to becoming a more inclusive diverse workforce. Previously Facebook had been reluctant to release its figures. The New York Times reported that Facebook COO and "Lean In" author Sheryl Sandberg, had originally stated that the company would rather share the numbers internally.

Diversity in companies is critical to not just fostering a positive, creative, inclusive workplace. Diversity is important in terms of representation, role models and mentorship. Sapna Cheryan, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Washington, explains.

“There’s a really strong image of what a computer scientist is — male, skinny, no social life, eats junk food, plays video games, likes science fiction," Cheryan told the New York Times. "It makes it hard for people who don’t fit that image to think of it as an option for them.”

By Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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Diversity Diversity In Tech Facebook Male Sheryl Sandberg Silicon Valley White