Facebook reports numbers, Jackson vows to keep pressing tech firms on diversity

As more tech companies release statistics confirming that their workforces are not exactly models of diversity, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH organization are vowing to keep pressing for improvement.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Jackson said in a statement after Facebook issued a report on its workforce Wednesday. “But the numbers tell the story. Blacks and Latinos are being left out of the technology revolution.”

Facebook was the latest of a handful of Silicon Valley firms to release reports disclosing the gender and ethnic make-up of their employees and managers. The report comes after Jackson attended the annual shareholder meetings last month of both Facebook and Google, urging both companies to release their numbers.

The numbers at Facebook echo some of the same disparities revealed this summer by Google, along with LinkedIn and Yahoo. As at other tech companies, the majority of Facebook’s U.S. workers are white or Asian. Facebook said just 4 percent of its U.S. employees are Hispanic, 2 percent are black and 3 percent are individuals of two or more races.

While Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has spoken widely about the need for more women leaders in business, her company reported that women make up just 31 percent of its global workforce and 23 percent of its senior management. Facebook said it’s working with several education and leadership organizations to improve the numbers. In a statement, the company said, “We have more work to do – a lot more. But the good news is that we’ve begun to make progress.”

Jackson said his group will be monitoring that effort and will continue to press other tech firms to disclose their workforce data. He’s urging companies to make diversity a business priority.

“They must set specific, measurable goals, targets and timetables, just like they do other priority business lines,” Jackson said in a statement. “We will measure their results and hold companies publicly accountable.”

(Photo by Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group:  Rev. Jesse Jackson arriving at the HP shareholder meeting earlier this year)

Brandon Bailey Brandon Bailey (350 Posts)

Brandon Bailey covers Google, Facebook and Yahoo for the San Jose Mercury News, reporting on the business and culture of the Internet.