Facebook has lately taken a beating from critics that claim the company has not done enough to address its lack of diversity in employee ranks. Its recent diversity report seemed to support that assertion. The report and its results were enough to generate headlines and fierce debate. Commentary on the report from Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Global Director of Diversity, has drawn even more controversy to the company.
Williams blamed a lack in the “pipeline” of qualified minority applicants for Facebook’s failure to achieve its diversity initiatives, according to USA Today. Williams essentially blamed the nation’s education system for supplying fewer graduates with degrees than tech companies need to hire. To Williams, the reason that Facebook is not hiring more black and Hispanic workers is one of supply and demand, and not derivative of Facebook’s hiring practices.
Diversity advocates were outraged at William’s comments, as they placed blame for Facebook’s diversity problems on external market problems that the giant social network cannot account for. The implication from her comments was that a steady flow of qualified diverse applicants does not exist, and therefore Facebook hires from the one that does.
Data contradicts Williams’ statements, however. There are actually more black and Hispanic students who major in computer science and engineering than work in jobs in the tech industry, according to USA Today. A study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission showed that among top engineering programs, nine percent of graduates are black and Hispanic. The study further shows that total black and Hispanic workforce at major technology companies sits at around 5 percent.
It appears from the EEOC data that a “pipeline” does exist, and critics claim that Facebook is making excuses that are not valid. To protest Williams’ comments and the results of Facebook’s diversity report, a Twitter hashtag #FBNoExcuses was created.
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