Given Tech’s Push For Foreign Workers Talk About Diversity Sounds Like Double-Speak

When Facebook released its workplace diversity numbers on Thursday, the company included a somewhat heartening message.

“It’s clear to all of us that we still aren’t where we want to be,”

 — Maxine Williams, Facebook’s global head of diversity, wrote.

“There’s more work to do.”

Behind Silicon Valley’s Self-Critical Tone on Diversity, a Lack of Progress

Then why are the top technology firms in the United States so eager to get legislation passed to bring more foreign workers into their ranks?

“We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants,” Zuckerberg wrote Thursday in the Washington Post. “And it’s a policy unfit for today’s world.” Zuckerberg has joined forces with top executives and founders from Google, Yahoo and LinkedIn to launch a new organization called FWD.us, with the goal of influencing the current debate. Several top venture capitalists are also participating.

“To lead the world in this new economy, we need the most talented and hardest-working people,”

 — Zuckerberg wrote.

 “We need to train and attract the best.”

Why Mark Zuckerberg Is Pushing for Immigration Reform

Perhaps looking at the makeup of the staff being “attracted and trained” might offer some insights into the minds of Upper Management.

At Facebook, the share of Hispanic employees in the United States remained flat, at 4 percent, just as it did for blacks, at 2 percent, the company said in its report last week. In 2013, Facebook hired just seven black employees out  of an overall increase of more than 1,200, according to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filing last year. Those who identify as white account for 55 percent of Facebook’s employees in the United States, while Asians represent 36 percent.

Behind Silicon Valley’s Self-Critical Tone on Diversity, a Lack of Progress

Hmm….

Aside from a seasoned workforce of engineers, developers, marketing and operations talent, there’s now the trend of training programs that teach people to code and design that promise favorable review for job placement. So much so, there’s mounting concern these “hacker” programs may become the college mills that are under fire for overcharging and not delivering.

Then there’s that gender discrimination lawsuit filed by Reddit CEO Ellen Pao against former employer Kleiner Perkins that nearly broke the internet. By this logic some might argue despite her claims of a hostile work environment at least Ms. Pao was hired.

Whether it’s a combination of skills or networks and mentors, clearly there’s a big rift between what companies say they want to do and the actual outcome. These are lucrative career positions that are highly coveted. You can’t always legislate fairness, but there must be some accountability to achieve greater parity. Consumers and users who help fuel the bottom line for such companies that neglect to hire from their groups might want to consider their own erasure in determining whether their continued support benefits them.


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