Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), like other tech firms in Silicon Valley, has been accused of being biased towards whites and men and has been asked to diversify its staff. To deal with the problem, the social networking giant created a points system two years ago, but it appears the system has been unsuccessful in achieving its objective, notes The Wall Street Journal.
Points system not working
Under Facebook’s current system, each recruiter is awarded one point for every new hire in engineering if the person hired is a white or Asian man. Initially, each recruiter was awarded one-and-a-half points for every hire made outside that demographic, but it didn’t work. So later, the number of points awarded was upped to two.
Facebook employees told The Wall Street Journal that more points were granted, hoping they would lead to stronger performance reviews and possibly larger bonuses for recruiters as well. Unluckily, awarding the recruiters two points for each diverse hire has not been able to bring much change in the demographics.
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Facebook’s workforce was comprised of 64.4% white and Asian males; white and Asian women made up 26.5% of the workforce and Hispanics made up 4.35%, while only 1.7% were blacks as of July 2015. The “other” category had the remaining 3.2% employees.
A former Facebook recruiter told the WSJ, “All of us are lost with diversity. We’re all rushing and sprinting to get diversity numbers higher and higher than other companies. It’s become a competitive number.”
The job market in Silicon Valley is highly competitive, making it very difficult for recruiters, including top-tier companies such as Facebook, to meet their hiring goals
Who should Facebook target?
Last month, the social networking giant blamed the applicant pool for the lack of diversity. Maxine Williams, head of diversity at Facebook, said appropriate representation in technology or any other industry is very dependent upon the number of people with the opportunity to gain the necessary skills through the public education system.
Joelle Emerson, CEO of Paradigm (a diversity consultancy firm that works with companies like Facebook), told the WSJ, “There are more black and Hispanic computer-science graduates than are offered jobs with tech firms in the U.S.”
Facebook did not say if the points-based system is still in effect or not. Recruiters at the company don’t actually have the authority to hire any of the diverse candidates they find. Rather, hiring managers make those decisions, and this is probably the reason for the failure of the program.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Facebook’s next diversity program should target the people who are actually doing the hiring.