Facebook Testing ‘Rooney Rule’ To Ensure Workforce Diversity


Facebook has been experimenting with the ‘Rooney Rule’ for the last few months in some of its departments, says a report from Bloomberg. The rule requires the firm to consider at least one minority candidate for all open job positions.

Facebook Testing 'Rooney Rule' To Ensure Workforce Diversity

Will the ‘Rooney Rule’ help?

The Rooney Rule comes from the NFL, who introduced the rule to interview minority candidates for the position of head coach and general managers back in 2003. The ‘Rooney Rule’ is named after Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the chairman of the league’s diversity committee. Its purpose was to ensure that minority coaches are considered for high-level coaching positions. In just three years, the rule increased the percentage of black coaches from 6% to 22%.

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At the Bloomberg Technology Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Pinterest engineer Tracy Chou said that quotas could be controversial sometimes, but the use of the ‘Rooney Rule’ by the tech firms could ensure that diverse candidate are at least considered.

Facebook spokeswoman Genevieve Grdina confirmed the use of the new rule by the social networker, but provided no further information.

Facebook working to improve workforce diversity

Facebook will soon release its workforce diversity statistics, stressing the need to focus more on increasing the number of women and minorities. Apart from Facebook, Apple and Google are also working to enhance their workforce diversity by adopting new recruiting methods and retention strategies along with taking help from non-profit groups to suggest suitable candidates.

In its last diversity report, Facebook revealed that it has over 10,000 employees, and of the total technical workforce, 94% are white or Asian, and only 15% were women. Of the total employees the social networker, a mere 31% are women. In the U.S., only 2.7% of Facebook’s workforce is black, and 4% is Hispanic, while 57% are white and almost a third are Asian.

Facebook will publish a report on gender inequality and racial diversity at the end of this month. Last week, COO Sheryl Sandberg said that the numbers have improved, but a lot of work still remains. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been consistently saying said that they need a diverse work force to build better products, and to accomplish this, the social networker has appointed teams to recruit minorities. However, the CEO also acknowledged that very few women or ethnics minority are graduating with the technical degrees that are in demand by Facebook.

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