Facebook's push for diversity

Facebook has published its sixth-annual diversity report, showing that the company has made only modest gains in its ambitions to bring more people from "traditionally underrepresented groups" into its workforce.

"Since 2014, when our strategic efforts began, we've made some progress increasing the number of people from traditionally underrepresented groups employed at Facebook but we recognise that we need to do more," Facebook says in its report.

The report reveals that the company, globally, is 63.1 per cent male and 36.9 per cent female, only slightly changed from the 63.7 per cent male and 36.3 per cent female workforce that it reported last year. In technical roles, that changes to 77 per cent male and 23 per cent female, whereas last year, it was 78.4 per cent and 21.6 per cent. Among senior leadership, it's 67.4 per cent male, down from 70 per cent last year.

As for ethnicity data, Facebook only breaks out its stats for the US. Across its American operations, Facebook says, its workforce is 44.2 per cent white, 43 per cent Asian, 5.2 per cent Hispanic, and 3.8 per cent Black, with 3.1 per cent of its employees reporting being from two or more backgrounds, and 0.7 per cent marked down as "other."

Despite these relatively small changes, Facebook touts that it’s been moving in the right direction, with more women and people from underrepresented groups joining its technical organisations, and more women joining the ranks of leadership by being promoted from within.

“Since 2014, we have increased the number of Black women at Facebook by 25X and the number of Black men by 10X,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. “And importantly, even as we have grown, we have worked very hard on making Facebook a more welcoming, respectful workplace.”

Even so, Facebook says, it’s setting itself an ambitious diversity goal, according to the blog post:

“We envision a company where in the next five years, at least 50% of our workforce will be women, people who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islanders, people with two or more ethnicities, people with disabilities, and veterans. In doing this, we aim to double our number of women globally and Black and Hispanic employees in the US. It will be a company that reflects and better serves the people on our platforms, services and products. It will be a more welcoming community advancing our mission and living up to the responsibility that comes with it.”

Facebook describes these goals as “ambitious” and “incredibly important” in the blog entry, and key to creating “accountability.”

This story was first published by BusinessInsider.com.au