How long have we been pointing out that Silicon Valley is overwhelmingly filled with white men? Quite a while. Yet, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is still holding out hope that “rigorous” diversity training is going to improve his company where only one percent of employees are Black.
Zuckerberg is currently traveling from state-to-state to speak to groups across the country. His latest stop was at North Carolina A&T State University, an HBCU in Greensboro, according to Gizmodo.
A PhD student then brought up the lack of diversity in the tech industry and asked him, “What do you intend to do about that and what advice would you give to us as minorities to strategically navigate the entrepreneurial world so that we can be included?”
Zuckerberg then told the student that fixing the diversity issue in Silicon Valley rests solely on the shoulders of the industry’s leaders themselves and that students of color can’ do much other than wait for the problem to be fixed.
“Frankly, I think that’s our problem to figure out,” he replied. “I think that responsibility rests on us and our companies in the industry to make sure that we get to that. And there’s so much research that shows that you need diverse teams to do the best work. So it’s important that we do better on diversity, not only because it’s the right thing to do for the country and for people, but because that’s the only way we’re going to serve our community the best.”
He then continued to tell the Black audience members about what Facebook is doing to help close the Grand Canyon-sized gap.
“So we do this really rigorous training for every manager at Facebook where you have to go through and understand what you’re unconscious biases are… a lot of people who think that they care about diversity actually still have a lot of these biases that hold them back.”
The Huffington Post reports that Facebook made an effort to improve employee diversity in 2015. However, the percentage of women on staff only increased from 16 to 17 percent and the combined percentage of Black and Latinx employees jumped from 2 to 6 percent.