The staff of Facebook is not as diverse as the users of the social media site, according to a recently released demographic. However, it is not the only company to show a problem in a diverse workforce compared to the users it sees coming in every day. Google and Yahoo also showed poor diversity amongst their teams.
According to the statistics, 69 percent of the Facebook workforce is male, while 57 percent of the total number of staff is white. Thirty-four percent of people who work for the company are Asian, with just two percent black. It adds fuel to the fire in the argument that the tech industry is not mixed enough, and those who do not fall into the “white male” category have little chance of having a career within the industry.
Google showed similar statistics with 70 percent of the workforce being male, and 61 percent white. Yahoo showed the most diversity, but it was still not great. There the workforce is made up of 62 percent males and 50 percent white people. However, Asians still only make up 39 percent of the workforce, and African Americans just two percent.
The question is why the companies do not hire more of a mixed staff group, considering the global reach they have. Surely it works as a disadvantage when the Facebook, Google and Yahoo staff members are not as diverse as their users.
The Head of Diversity for the social media giant, Maxine Williams, even admitted that having people of different races is better for the business. It allows companies connect with the global community of users. However, it is more than just having different races. The teams need to have people from different backgrounds, cultures and communities. It needs people of different ages and genders, so that there is always someone to mirror that type of products the business is making. How could a company made up of older men understand the needs and preferences of young adult women?
News of the diversity within Facebook and other tech companies could be depressing to those who want to break into the industry. It can put women and those of different races off from the idea of working within an industry that is currently dominated by men. There is the fear that people will not be hired simply because they are different, and do not fit the stereotypical idea of an employer for a company.
Of course, that fear could also lead to the one-sided demographics. There is the possibility that companies are not purposely hiring mainly white men out of choice, but because they have nobody else to choose when it comes to a pool of candidates.
Arguably, the jobs should also go to the person who is more qualified. Having to think about diversity could affect the capabilities of a company. If a white male is more suitable for the role than a black female, surely it is right that the white male gets the job. If the black female was more suitable, then she should get the role. However, it seems the latter may not happen enough as Facebook and other tech giants show they are not as diverse to work for as their user bases.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham