In a groundbreaking disclosure, Google revealed Wednesday how very white and male its workforce is -- just 2 percent of its Googlers are black, 3 percent are Hispanic, and 30 percent are women.
The search giant said the transparency about its workforce -- the first disclosure of its kind in the largely white, male tech sector -- is an important step toward change.
"Simply put, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity," Google Inc. senior vice president Laszlo Bock wrote in a blog.
The numbers were compiled as part of a report that major U.S. employers must file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Companies are not required to make the information public.
The gender divide is based on the roughly 44,000 people Google employed throughout the world at the start of this year. The company didn't factor about 4,000 workers at its Motorola Mobility division, which is being sold to China's Lenovo Group for $2.9 billion. The racial data is limited to Google's roughly 26,600 workers in the U.S as of August 2013.
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg recently said the social networking company is headed toward disclosure as well, but it was important to share the data internally first.
Apple Inc., Twitter, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp. did not respond immediately to queries about possible plans to disclose data.
Bock said Google has been working to diversify, not just its offices but in the broader tech sector. Since 2010, the firm has given more than $40 million to organizations working to bring computer science education to women and girls, he said.
The company also is working with historically black colleges and universities to elevate coursework and attendance in computer science, he said.
"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," he said.
Gender and ethnic disparities are reflected throughout the tech industry. About 7 percent of tech workers are black or Latino in Silicon Valley and nationally. Blacks and Hispanics make up 13.1 and 16.9 percent of the U.S. population, respectively, according to the most recent Census data.
In the coming months, Google said, it will work with the Kapor Center for Social Impact, a group that uses information technology to close gender and ethnic gaps in the Silicon Valley workforce. The center will be organizing a Google-backed conference in California focusing on issues of technology and diversity.
Co-founder Freada Kapor Klein, who started the Level Playing Field Institute 13 years ago to teach and mentor black and Latino students in science and math, said Google is showing leadership "which has been sorely needed for a long time."
"Google is the company known for the moonshot, and applying that part of Google DNA to this problem is a breath of fresh air," she said.
Earlier this year, the Rev. Jesse Jackson launched a campaign to diversify Silicon Valley, asking to meet with leaders of several iconic technology companies about bringing black and Hispanics into their workforce and leadership.
Since then, he's been leading delegations to annual shareholder's meetings at firms including Google, Facebook, eBay Inc. and Hewlett-Packard.
On Wednesday Jackson said Google is to be commended.
"It's a bold step in the right direction. We urge other companies to follow Google's lead," he said. "Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated an ability to solve the most challenging and complex problems in the world. Inclusion is a complex problem -- if we put our collective minds together, we can solve that too."
Iris Gardner, a manager at nonprofit Code2040, which places high performing black and Latino software engineering students in internships with top tech companies, said Google's disclosure could mark a pivotal moment in the push to diversify Silicon Valley.
"It is a big deal for them to be transparent about something that most companies haven't in the past been willing to share," she said.
© 2014 Associated Press
syndicated under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.
Posted: 2014-06-02 @ 2:38pm PT
Review http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm and see for yourself the IT industry demographics. Google is spot on for women. The rest may be the location of their offices and the market demand for ethnic diversity and the lack of qualified individuals. I am not making excuses, but unless someone comes forward with a discrimination claim, it may simply be a lack of available candidates cause by the highly competitive nature of hiring minority's that then creates market shortages.
Posted: 2014-06-01 @ 9:37pm PT
While diversity is good because of the different mix of ideas that it brings to the table, the problem is not Google's (or Silicon Valley's). The statistics should not be measured against the general population, but against enrollment in relevant, high quality universities and colleges. If anybody wants more diversity, they should find out why certain groups do not enroll in the relevant education paths, which are obviously in high demand industry-side.
Posted: 2014-05-31 @ 10:31am PT
there is no racial discrimination in education, otherwise how come Asian be so successful? If there is any discrimination, it is AA against Asian kids. Damn!
Posted: 2014-05-31 @ 9:38am PT
@Johann: Yes, I DID earn earn my qualifications. I am proud of them. Being discriminated against, just because I am white and have an education is crap. It was my choice not to do heroin (it was popular back then), it was my choice to go to the library instead. I was not the most popular kid because I did not do drugs, but worked towards a degree.
And now you are going to tell me, that some scumbag who didn't do **** in school, and doesn't have half of the credentials I do, is going to get my job ? Ha ! Not in my life time.
Yeah, Google is successful because of the smart white guys they hire. And there are also some Blacks, Hispanics and women, who did their deed and got an education and qualify for the jobs. Why does this have to be about race ??? WTF ??? This is about education and qualification. As I previously said, this is a business, not a country club.
And if you disagree, go ahead and start a company, and ONLY hire minorities ... your choice ...
Posted: 2014-05-31 @ 1:47am PT
Why do you guys find it the responsibility of a successful company to "encourage" and "promote" minorities to get in to high tech jobs ? Sure it's a nice thing to do, and there are many other charitable contributions they can make, like support the veterans for example ... but nobody cares about the cuts the vets have to accept, but boho when somebody mentions race everybody is jumping and tries to be politically correct. Look around you, all the gangbangers with their pants below their crotch playing the knock out game, you want to go and tell them to get a high tech job ? My parents told me the value of a good education and I got in big trouble if I got a 'C'. Yes they where demanding, that's why I CAN qualify for a google job ...
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 7:53pm PT
How is it that Google is 40% non-white, yet is deemed for the most part white?
Oh yeah. Asians aren't minorities. Just what does "minority" mean anyway?
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 1:38pm PT
Shorter version of this comment page so far: "Google is successful because they know what they're doing! ...wait, Google just decided to hire more women and brown people. Clearly, they don't know what they're doing and I know better."
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 1:02pm PT
Hm... so something is terribly wrong with this enormously profitable company. We have to hire more people who are different. Why? Because it reflects poorly on our company. Not because it will improve our business. No, we must appease the powers that be in the name of "equality." So you, MIT Honor Grad... you're fired! Shaniqua Gonzalez, community college dropout, you're in!
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 12:54pm PT
I do love all the people who are quick to jump to the defense of the poor oppressed white men. Never mind the deep hostility to women in the tech sector or the sexism in STEM education, ignore the pervasive discrimination against racial minorities that makes it far more difficult to gain a high-tech education and experience than it is for whites - if a white man has something then by God he has clearly earned every last bit of it, and closing your eyes on the discrimination that favored him every step of the way is just the polite thing to do.
Actually talking about *fixing* that discrimination? Heresy, in this good old US of A. How dare you, Google.
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 12:49pm PT
Seek, and you shall find.....Google hired exactly who and what they wanted. If they wanted quality qualified computer experts and programmers they would have gone to some of the top HBCU's like Tuskegee, or non-HBCU's like UAB, and found them. Google is apparently as 'diverse' as they want to be.
Perhaps they can be even more successful if they can break the hypocacy barrier......Is being white a prime qualification?
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 12:45pm PT
They do hire people based on qualifications and they are working to diversify by supporting minorities to get the proper education to become qualified. They are not just saying '"hey you're a minority, we need more minorities so you're hired even though you know nothing about this job." If that were the case that would be another form of discrimination. From the sounds of it they are taking steps to make minorities feel more welcome in the tech community and promoting computer science education. But who am I to say anything on the subject, I'm just a female who has been fighting for her place to belong in the technology field for the past decade.
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 12:39pm PT
When a top rated company makes these kind of statements, "But we're the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be..." it's time to sell the stock.
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 12:37pm PT
Wow Google is almost entirely white and they happen to be one of the top companies in the world. Diversity is sure to change that. Look at the USA, white and on top 50 years ago. Now brown and down and it keeps getting better. Diversify and conquer! United we stand diversified we fall!
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 12:35pm PT
better have the same ratio of minorities and women as the general population, or you are obviously a racist or sexist!
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 12:34pm PT
@LuuDee: This is exactly what Google is lamenting. That the people they can find who are qualified for the jobs are not a more diverse bunch. This is why Google is encouraging STEM and especially computer science education among the groups which are a minority in their body of employees. There's nothing nonsensical about that.
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 12:27pm PT
This is ridiculous. Google hires the best candidates for every position. An American company shouldn't have to hire less qualified people just because they haven't met some magical diversity number. If people that aren't white or male want to get hired by Google, they need to improve their game!
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 12:26pm PT
Is Google NOT willing to hire minorities who are qualified, or is it simply that minorities do not pursue the very competitive and demanding field of information technology?
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 12:21pm PT
@LuuDee: "Diversity does not belong when it comes to hiring decisions - only qualification counts."
You are so right about that!
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 12:20pm PT
note how extremely successful they are
Posted: 2014-05-30 @ 12:16pm PT
What a bunch of nonsense !!! Diversity !!! Is Google a business or a country club ??? You should be hiring the most qualified people for your company. Regardless of race or gender. Diversity does not belong when it comes to hiring decisions - only qualification counts.