Facebook’s Diversity Numbers Are Trending in the Right Direction

Facebook’s Diversity Numbers Are Trending in the Right Direction

For the fourth straight year, Facebook released its annual diversity update for 2016 as part of an effort to increase accountability for making its workforce more inclusive of women and underrepresented minorities. The numbers revealed only slight progress, but given the considerable rise in employee headcount (nearly 3x since 2014) and investments made in long-term diversity initiatives, the progress is encouraging.

Now at over 17,000 employees, Facebook grew the proportion of women in its ranks by 2 percent since 2015, to 35 percent of the global workforce. Women’s numbers also rose by 2 percent in technical jobs to 19 percent while the percentage of women in leadership increased from 27 to 28 percent and is up four percentage points from 2014.

Black and Hispanic presence in the US has grown as well, each by one percent, now at 3 and 5 percent respectively. Minority presence in senior leadership, however, remained stagnant across Asian, black, and Hispanic Americans, and has hardly grown since 2014.

“For every increase in representation for an under-represented group, it means we are hiring them at rates that are higher than the rates we are for majority groups,” Facebook’s Global Director of Diversity, Maxine Williams, told Recode. “To outpace means there is a deliberate driving engine behind it.”

Williams credits a number of programs for the tech giant’s diversity progress and is optimistic for greater returns in the coming years. All of Facebook’s senior leaders and 75 percent of employees overall have taken its optional training program to address unconscious bias. Two newer courses, Managing Inclusion and Be an Ally, are also helping the cause. Managing Inclusion seeks to make leaders aware of the issues minorities face inside and outside of the workplace, while Be an Ally is designed to confirm the stance that diversity benefits the company and everyone in it.

“What you see in our numbers is a multi-year investment starting to pay off,” Facebook’s VP of People Lori Goler told Fortune.

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