Women, minorities lose ground in technological decline.


Britt Levy, 35, was excited to join MetaPay’s training program for aspiring HR managers last year because she wanted to find a position based in the recruiting field and help other military families find work in the lucrative tech sector.

Levy, who is Mexican-American, agreed to start the 12-month gig in April after confirming with Meta that her position would be secure for the duration of the program despite the company’s financial woes. She was told that the program, which aims to improve the pipeline of employers who focus on diversity, has been funded for the entire year.

About six months later, Meta laid off Levine and most of its other program participants, along with 13 percent of its full-time employees, due to a sluggish economy, declining revenue growth and more competition in the social media market.

“What they did with this program, I would never recommend that anyone sign up with Meta for a diversity program,” Levy said. “Basically, [Meta] Cut us off at the knees.”

Levy’s experience illustrates the uphill battle Meta and other tech companies face as they cut their workforces while pledging to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in their ranks.

The tech industry has long struggled to recruit a diverse workforce, but recent layoffs at Silicon Valley companies have hit women hard, according to a recently published analysis of demographic data from layoffs. Women and some minorities were especially vulnerable to layoffs because they were new to the job and companies were less interested in keeping them, experts said.

“Diversity has never been their strong suit,” said Benjamin Juarez, co-founder of Latinos in Tech, a technical skills training group. “Maybe not this vacation.”

Many large tech companies have boosted the ranks of women and minorities during the pandemic, allowing companies to hire people across a wider geographic area and those who would otherwise prefer to stay at home.

But the layoffs threaten those benefits. An analysis of data from tech worker Layoffs.fyi showed that women represented 39 percent of the workforce as of September, but they represent 46 percent of the workforce, according to Rayhan Ayas, senior economist at Revelio Labs. Labor market. Hispanic workers were also less likely to be represented among layoffs than in the labor force, according to Revillio’s data.

“Overall, certainly non-technical roles will be affected more, women will be affected more,” said Rayhan Ayas, senior economist at Revilio Labs. “And [diversity, equity and inclusion] Overall, efforts have been hampered by job cuts at at least some companies over the past year or so.

One reason women and Hispanic workers may be disproportionately targeted for layoffs is that companies use a “last in, first out” strategy to decide which jobs to keep and which to cut. The average tenure of a fired employee is only one year, which reduces the time remaining employees spend with the company, Revillio says. Laid-off workers are more likely to work in positions the tech companies are looking to cut, including hiring and customer service positions, the data showed.

“When you have a short tenure, you don’t have as many friends and connections in the organization, so you’re going to be on the cutting edge,” says Bhaskar Chakravorty, dean of international business at Tufts’ Fletcher School. University. “The final first-round results affected many people, but women and minorities were disproportionately hired over the past two years, so they were also disproportionately fired.”

Meta is a company that’s in the spotlight, using remote work during the pandemic. In the year Between 2021 and 2022, the share of black, Hispanic, mixed-race and Asian workers in the U.S. workforce increased, while the share of white workers decreased by 1.5 percent, Meta’s annual diversity report found. Leaders at the company also became more diverse, with an increasing proportion of women, black and Hispanic managers, the report said.

Maxine Williams, META’s chief diversity officer, said last year that candidates who receive remote job offers in the United States are more likely to come from underrepresented racial groups; Globally, they are more likely to be women.

In the year Between 2021 and 2022, the share of women in Meta’s workforce has increased slightly from 36.7 percent to 37.1 percent, Meta’s report indicates.

Chakravorty added that remote workers may be particularly vulnerable to layoffs because they are assigned less critical tasks and have less face time with their managers compared to office workers.

“When people started going back to offices, there was a two-tiered citizenship in a certain company,” he says, between people who work completely remotely and those who sometimes come into the office.

Easing security restrictions during the pandemic hit Meta when its core business model was facing other serious threats. The social media giant has been competing with rival apps like TikTok for users and ad dollars. Apple has introduced new privacy restrictions that affect the company’s ability to collect data for the purpose of targeted advertising at its users. Meanwhile, marketers are pulling back on ad spending amid uncertainty in the global economy.

Over the summer, Meta executives issued sweeping guidance, heralding a new era of high performance expectations and the company recovering from an ever-growing list of economic challenges. Managers were asked to identify underperformers, which created a lot of stress and resentment among Facebook’s workforce.

Meta’s treatment of minority workers has already faced scrutiny. In the year In 2020, an African American manager and two job applicants who were rejected by Facebook filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that the company discriminated against blacks in its evaluation, promotion, salary and hiring practices. The case is ongoing.

“It’s not just about firing low performers,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case. “I think it’s problematic because the meta-rating system is riddled with biases because the company is firing someone because they’re underperforming.”

In November, META’s chief of human resources, Lori Goller, told the rest of the staff. After the layoffs, the company did not take diversity into account when deciding which positions to cut, according to a recording of the meeting heard by the Washington Post.

“The way we thought about DEI,” says Golder, using an acronym for diversity, equity and inclusion, “was the same way we thought about it across all of our people, which is a little more insightful and more objective. Any of your people processes, the better for DEI. Especially the hiring team.” He was injured, she said.

One of the tactics the company used during the call was, “Such a last thought is to release first.” And it’s a way to get to more objective standards. And there were a number of ways we did that at Orga as we tried to move forward with the plans and the layoffs.

Goller also estimated that 46 percent of the layoffs came from technology groups, and 54 percent from the company’s business side. At Meta, women and people of color are more likely to be in roles on the business side of a company than in engineering roles.

As Meta’s financial situation worsened and the company began to freeze and then freeze hiring, Levy said there was much less for her and her colleagues to do. So sometimes, she spends most of her days meeting with other Meta employees to learn more about the company and their ways of working.

Two months after the termination, Levy said she is still having trouble finding work in any field. She said she has applied to hundreds of jobs so far but has only gotten a handful of interviews.

“I applied for everything,” Levy said. “It was hard.”

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