Google admits company diversity 'miles away' from ideal

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.

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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.

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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.