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Facebook recruiters get 'points' for diverse hires

Employees at work in the Facebook headquarters, where the atmosphere is casual and laid-back, in Palo Alto.
Gilles Mingasson | Getty Images
Employees at work in the Facebook headquarters, where the atmosphere is casual and laid-back, in Palo Alto.

Hiring recruiters at Facebook are rewarded for "diversity hires" with an internal point system, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Points, which can lead to stronger performance reviews and potentially bonuses for recruiters, were given at a rate of 1 per every new hire, and 1.5 points — later raised to 2 points — for a minority hire, the Journal said. But that internal point system hasn't helped the company hire dramatically more black, Hispanic or female engineers, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

Facebook's latest diversity numbers have a long way to go, the company admits. Senior leadership is 71 percent white, 21 percent Asian, and 73 percent male, the company said in its latest diversity update. It comes as the company has made headlines for blaming a lack of talent in the "pipeline" coming from the public education system, the Journal said.

"Over the past few years, we have been working hard to increase diversity at Facebook through a variety of internal and external programs and partnerships," a Facebook representative, who did not confirm or deny the Journal report, told CNBC. "These initiatives are designed to help us reach the amazing underrepresented talent that currently exists, as well as future applicants."

For more, read the full article from The Wall Street Journal here.

The system is not unlike others within Silicon Valley, as the companies in the area — known for competitive hiring practices — try to better reflect users of its services. Intel has pledged $300 million toward becoming the first "high technology company" to reach full representation of women and minorities by 2020.

Apple said recently that 37 percent of the company's hires in the past year were women and 27 percent were under-represented minorities, on the "higher side of average," an expert said.

Indeed, Facebook is known for competitive internal incentive programs within the ranks of its engineers. A point system for finding product bugs was a favorite in a recent company hackathon. The company has also been piloting a "diverse slate approach" on some teams within the organization, which aspires to present at least one qualified candidate from an underrepresented group to interview for open roles, but hasn't been openly tied to a hiring goal.

"Our diverse slate approach encourages recruiters to look longer, harder and smarter for more diversity in the qualified talent pool," Facebook said in its diversity update. "Our goal is to create an environment where diversity is considered an indispensable part of the search for great talent."