Google admits company diversity 'miles away' from ideal

Google admits company diversity 'miles away' from ideal

Summary: In Google's workforce demographics report, the firm says that 70 percent of employees are white males, and diversity is an issue that needs to be tackled.

TOPICS: Google
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Credit: Scott Brownrigg Interior Design

Google has released workforce demographics figures, saying that diversity in the company is "miles from where we want to be."

The tech giant's statistics on its 50,000-strong workforce show that within the United States, 70 percent of Google employees are men, and 61 percent of staff are white. Black workers accounted for two percent of the workforce, while Hispanics accounted for three percent, and 30 percent of the company's staff are Asian.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 07.48.38
Credit: Google

In Google's tech-related workforce, men accounted for 83 percent of roles and whites accounted for 60 percent, while blacks held roughly one percent and Hispanics accounted for two percent of overall jobs. In comparison, US Department of Labor statistics suggest that workforce averages for blacks and Hispanics are 12 and 16 percent respectively, and women account for 47 percent.

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White males also dominate leadership roles; men accounting for 79 percent of jobs and white employees accounting for 72 percent. Black staff account for two percent, Hispanics roughly one percent and Asian staff account for 23 percent of jobs. Women take up 21 percent of jobs in leadership. 

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In a blog post, Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations said:

We've always been reluctant to publish numbers about the diversity of our workforce at Google. We now realize we were wrong, and that it’s time to be candid about the issues. Put simply, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity, and it’s hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts.

Google says that the diversity problem may be due to education. In the US, women earn roughly 18 percent of all computer science degrees, and blacks and hispanics make up under 10 percent of all US graduates — with fewer than five percent electing to pursue computer science majors.

In order to close the gap, Google says it has granted organizations over $40 million to bring more female computer science graduates to the fold, and the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has also "historically [worked with] black colleges and universities to elevate coursework and attendance in computer science."

Despite effort to increase diversity, the tech giant is honest about the current state of affairs, as Bock noted:

But we’re the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be — and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution.

Topic: Google

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  • just takes time...

    Hate to do the geezer-memory thing, but 'back when I was..". No seriously. A bit after graduating with my BA in math in 88, there was an MS presentation, open invite, publicly advertised, for a talk about I believe C 6.0. No secret handshake required, no fee charged, just walk in, take a seat, and listen. There were several hundred humans in the room, the majority of the few that were not white males were Asian males. I was struck by just HOW extreme the imbalance was; there couldn't have been ten females in that room.

    Things have come a long way since then, but the numbers will be harshly tilted for a long time, simply because of where the game started. A better thing Google might ask itself, if they want to observe how they are doing with regard to diversity, would be their ratios for hires within the last decade.

    I'm doing my part, keeping my daughter focused on math, and she seems to be doing well. Fortunately I think the "girls are no good at math" thing has mercifully died and been forgotten. In the end, it takes a long time to raise a mathematician and deliver her to productive life; its worth the wait.
  • 80% of NBA is black

    Who in their right mind thinks NBA has a diversity issue?

    Perhaps, just perhaps, that 70% male and 60% white ratio is the way it naturally is.
  • The only thing they should really worry about

    Is that the best person available is appointed to any vacancy, regardless of race/sex.

    If the best candidate is a white male, they get appointed. If they are an Asian female, they get appointed.
    Picking sub-standard candidates for the sake of quota figures is dumb, and actually serves no-one.
  • It's even worse at the top

    Has it improved any since 2012?

    "In Google’s Inner Circle, a Falling Number of Women"
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Hmm

    "women earn roughly 18 percent of all computer science degrees" and women account for 17 percent of "Google's tech-related workforce".

    "fewer than five percent electing to pursue computer science majors" and "blacks and Hispanics are 12 and 16 percent" of "Google's tech-related workforce".

    So comparing the CS graduates to Google's tech workforce, they're not discriminating based on sex, but they may be discriminating based on race (more likely to get hired if you're black/hispanic).

    I agree with Boothy_p here, hire the best person for the job, sex/race shouldn't ever be a factor.
    Koopa Troopa
  • Hmmmm

    I think females CEOs account for under 5% of the total. Non-whites account for a low amount as well.
    The Google totals are typical for a tech company. More males. And I'm sure most of the females are in marketing, HR, executive assistants, etc.
    I was in a company with an IT staff of 50. Exclude the administrative assistants, just one female on the technical side.