As more attention is brought to the importance of increasing diversity in the workforce, Meta announced it has reached several of its goals ahead of schedule, thanks to remote work.

“We’ve intentionally set ambitious goals to increase representation in our workforce over five years, and the latest numbers reflect meaningful progress, thanks in part to the hiring opportunities driven by our strategic decision to embrace remote work,” Maxine Williams, chief diversity officer for Meta, wrote in the company's 2022 Diversity Report.

The report, which was released on Tuesday, documents the company’s strides towards creating a more diverse workplace and products, as well as future intiatives. All data included was as reported on June 30.

In just two years, the company doubled the number of Black and Hispanic employees in the U.S. and doubled the number of women globally. Meta hoped to achieve those benchmarks, which were initially set in 2019, by 2024.

Meta discovered that by adopting options for remote work - which it is calling “distributed first” - it was easier to find candidates from different backgrounds. About 75 percent of its work teams do not have employees in the same location.

“For the first time, we’re hiring individuals who are fully remote and working from locations where we don’t have offices, deepening the diversity of our candidate pool,” Williams wrote.

People who accepted remote positions in the U.S. were more likely to be Black, Hispanic, Native American, Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, veterans and/or people with disabilities, the company reported. Globally, the company noted more women accepted remote working positions.

Meta also aimed to have 50 percent of its workforce staffed by underrepresented people by 2024. As of 2022, they now make up 46.7 percent of employees, about 1 percent higher than a year ago. 
It is projecting that it will reach, and potentially exceed, its goal to have 30 percent of leadership roles, meaning director-level employees and above, filled by people of color by 2025. Women currently make up 36.7 percent of its global leadership, which the company says has also been a focus.

Diversity in the Metaverse

In the report, the company also detailed future initiatives to build diversity on its other platforms, especially in the metaverse. As previously announced in February, Meta will unveil a mobile version of its social VR platform Horizon for smartphones in order to make access easier, especially for those who cannot afford a VR headset. It also is offering one quintillion different feature combinations to let users make an avatar that represents how they want to express themselves.

In addition, the company has earmarked $150 million towards a Meta Immersive Learning initiative, which will support experiences dedicated to learning and increasing technology access. Other Meta projects include developing artificial intelligence in the Web3 space, whether that’s aiding Wikipedia to be more accurate when it comes to biographies of historical figures or creating a language translator capable of interpreting 200 languages called No Language Left Behind (NLLB).

“In stark contrast to the way social media evolved, without being informed by broader societal considerations, we’re seizing this opportunity to build the metaverse with diversity, equity and inclusion from the start,” Williams wrote. “This takes time, intention and action, which is why we’ve already started.”