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[flagged] Silicon Valley’s Cynical Treatment of Asian Engineers (quillette.com)
38 points by temp8964 4 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments





> There are a few reasons why Facebook and Google software engineers are so ignored and underpaid.

It is true that per engineer, successful SV firms do make a lot of money. But it is _really_ hard for me to imagine this class of people as "ignored and underpaid." FB, Google, etc are publicly traded companies, not co-ops and, as such, are under no obligation to pay any more than they do. Don't like it the terms? Don't sign the contract. They make it sound like they make you sign a contract with a gun at your head.

> A Facebook software engineer’s average starting salary is about $150,000 a year...But outside of San Francisco, it’s probably equivalent to around $50,000 a year.

This is just stupid. A _starting_ salary of 150k? Even if the equivalence they draw to 50k/yr elsewhere is correct this is a pretty good place to start. I made 95k starting out in SV and had plenty of money to burn.

This article is not rigorous and just bad.


As an immigrant, I'm glad I chose to go to Europe over the United States, because the H1B is something that I did not want to deal with.

Not having citizenship or permanent residence is like The Sword of Damocles hanging over your head; you know that everything you've worked so hard for can be taken away instantly. So, I understand the pressure and hardship that a lot of these engineers face.

Furthermore, you can bet your house that these engineers are hired because they deserve to be there, not because they are filling some quota.


> you know that everything you've worked so hard for can be taken away instantly.

How so? You can invest & buy property with an H1B, none of it is lost.

US incomes are higher than in Europe allowing SWE to save more - if you need to leave you can sell and take that money back home or to Europe


And you will need to sell all of that if you lose the right to stay in the US.

Selling is always an option - but you don’t need to sell your 401k or house when you leave the country

Diversity at most SV companies nowadays seems from the outside and by the numbers to mean getting more white women. Funny diversity does not include Asians even though they are a minority of the total population in the US.

> Funny diversity does not include Asians even though they are a minority of the total population in the US.

This is why the term URM (under-represented minority) is used so often within tech. Rather than address the over-representation they adjusted the goal posts with this term.


Of course a minority is going to be "under-represented" if it had no interest in joining the sector. I bet people making those policies never spoke about software with a lambda woman. I did, and I will tell you my experience.

I was a student in computer science degree. During parties, or when meeting new people, there is always this phase where people introduce themselves and ask what that do/study. I had multiple occasions to tell European women the truth: that I'm studied CS. The response generally ranged from meh to disgust. That include mockery and conversation that turned very short.

At some point I was also studying something else. I then started to introduce myself as a student of that major instead. The results were almost magically: not only there wasn't any negative reaction, but it was something picking interested and fueling the conversation further.

Now I precised European earlier in the post because I also experimented in Japan were Asian women response ranged from ok to some interested in learning how to code.

That being said, a minority for which rising statistics is almost impossible is way good for all the people living by preaching "diversity": they sure won't run out of work.


> I was a student in computer science degree. During parties, or when meeting new people, there is always this phase where people introduce themselves and ask what that do/study. I had multiple occasions to tell European women the truth: that I'm studied CS. The response generally ranged from meh to disgust. That include mockery and conversation that turned very short.

I had the same experience in the UK...this was back in 2000 though. I do think things would be different these days, as people generally have a better understanding of CS.

In my year, there were only 2 women studying CS. They both went on to do non computer-related jobs (not my fault I swear!).


This is what happened in Sweden. As equal opportunities increased, the disparity in representation between men and women became even more drastic, due to individual preference.

> Funny diversity does not include Asians even though they are a minority of the total population in the US.

More Asians in STEM = less diversity. Asians are massively overrepresented in these fields


> Asian Americans represent 41.8 percent of Google’s workforce. [..] Forbes diversity writer Ruth Umoh summarized the report’s data as indicating both “modest gains in representation for women and people of color,” and “a disproportionately white [52%*], Asian and male workforce.”

The US is 61% white. I've lost count of the number of articles that casually call companies where whites are under-represented as "disproportionately white".

*https://diversity.google/annual-report/representation/


Yeah, we occasionally get Americans complain about how little diversity is in our European branch office because it's like 5% black, 10% Asian, 80% white.

The country is 95% white, 2% Asian and 1.5% black.

Public discussion of discrimination then tends to be focused on travellers (a white ethnic group) and eastern Europeans (also white) but it doesn't fit into American trends as much so internally its rarely discussed


The older generations are whiter (it did used to be illegal for non-whites to emigrate to the USA, leading to an odd series of legal cases where different nationalities tried to prove their whiteness) so it may well skew figures in one direction or another if you include people who are too young to work or old enough to retire.

I tried to find out what numbers Google were using, but I can't find your quote on the page you link to? Edit: ah it's from the article.


> it did used to be illegal for non-whites to emigrate to the USA

You must be mistaken. It's well known that the USA was conceived as a "melting pot nation", a nation of immigrants, and those agitating for the opposite are rightly rebuked as un-American. Diversity is our strength, e pluribus unum, etc.

That is simply not compatible with ever having had white-only immigration laws, let alone so recently that it would still affect the age-structure.


Well, non-whites were not generally eligible for citizenship until the Civil War (14th amendment).

We have a long and illustrious history of discriminating against different races, when it comes to immigration. Just to list a few examples:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalization_Act_of_1790

"The law limited naturalization to "free white person(s) ... of good character", thus excluding Native Americans, indentured servants, slaves, free blacks and later Asians, although free blacks were allowed citizenship at the state level in a number of states." (note that Dred Scott v Sanford later explicitly declared that black people couldn't receive citizenship.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Exclusion_Act

(followup to the Page Act of 1875, which banned Chinese women so Chinese male laborers who came over to build the railroads wouldn't reproduce.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Act_of_1924

"The Immigration Act of 1924 ... prevented immigration from Asia, set quotas on the number of immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere, and provided funding and an enforcement mechanism to carry out the longstanding ban on other immigrants."

Only in 1952 with the McCarran-Walter Act was this exclusion on Asian immigrants lifted, and the National Origins Formula (attempting to keep the racial composition status quo) was in place until 1965.


The person you are replying to seems not to be disputing this history, but moving onto the "..but if it did happen it was a good thing" stage of the argument.

Certainly it was not a good thing for anyone non-white that wanted to immigrate or was already a resident - I'm not sure what part of my comment implies otherwise.

I am only highlighting that the oft-repeated claim that America was conceived as a nation of non-discriminatory immigration is a lie. It only moved in that direction with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.


It's very weird to be so specific that you're not saying <famous example of racism> was a good thing for <the victims of that racism>. You could have just stopped after saying that you weren't saying it was a good thing, but you chose not to for some reason.

But I sense you're having fun being so vaguely edgy and contrarian so I don't want to further encourage it.


Many times, "diversity" and similar terms are dog whistles for "less white"

> We are never told what a “Black+” person is.

The author seemed to have trouble finding this info:

> In our 2019 Diversity Annual Report, we began counting multiracial people as a member of all the racial categories they identify with. This system used in the report is called the “plus system” (indicated by the + sign) because multiracial people are “plussed in” to each racial category they identify with. To see this data using U.S. government reporting categories, view our EEO-1.


> A Facebook software engineer’s average starting salary is about $150,000 a year. That may sound like a lot. But outside of San Francisco, it’s probably equivalent to around $50,000 a year.

It’s not. A 1 bedroom in say Austin is $1,500 these days. In SF it may be $3,500. That’s 24k a year. Other costs are comparable. Taxes are another 10%. Added together it may be 100k vs. 150k. These engineers aren’t living like they earn 50k a year in SF.


The numbers are silliness, hard to take the rest of the points seriously. Average starting salary for engineers at FB isn’t $150K and there aren’t 1000 engineers. Looks like the author pulled these numbers from Internet sources from years ago, then compares them to FB’s 2020 revenue.

Articles from years ago say that FB’s average salary is in the 120-130K range, total comp around 150K, but that’s for all employees, not just engineers, who are the highest paid. E3’s (new college grads) make more than $150K.

https://www.levels.fyi/company/Facebook/salaries/Software-En...

FB had 60K employees end of 2020, you think only 1.6% of them are engineers? Did they source this from a Quora answer from years ago that’s the top google result for “Facebook number engineers” where someone just pulls a big number out of their ass?

https://www.quora.com/How-many-software-engineers-work-at-Fa...


This article is somewhat misleading.

It claims that Facebook only has 1000 software engineers, which is comically low. Back in 2013, FB had 4000 employees (not counting contractors) and I can guarentee you that more than 1000 each were in software engineering and sales.

Also, people who think that large advertising-driven companies could survive without sales people are fooling themselves.

I think that in general, there are some interesting points here around the representation of diversity but I find it hard to take those seriously when I can catch the author in really simple factual errors.


Why was this flagged? This is an important, underdiscussed topic.

Probably because quillette is seen as "right-wing", and hence makes problematic arguments in the eyes of some. For example they are critical of CRT and the trans-ideology.

I listen to their podcast and they have some excellent interviews by the way.


Facebook hired more than a thousand engineers LAST YEAR. This article also goes to great lengths to exclude mentioning Asians of Indian ethnicity, which make up at least half of the total, and pretend "Asian" is a single race. Typical Quillette trash.



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