Tech gi­ant Google still strug­gling to di­ver­sify be­yond white, Asian males


Google isn’t mak­ing much head­way di­ver­si­fy­ing its work­force be­yond white and Asian men, even though the In­ter­net com­pany hired women to fill one out of ev­ery five of its open­ings for com­puter pro­gram­mers and other high-pay­ing tech­nol­ogy jobs last year.

The i mbal­anced pic­ture emerged in a de­mo­graphic break­down that Google re­leased Mon­day. The re­port un­der­scored the chal­lenges that Google and most other ma­jor tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies face as they try to add more women, blacks and His­pan­ics to their pay­rolls af­ter many years of pri­mar­ily re­ly­ing on the tech­ni­cal skills of white and Asian men.

“Early in­di­ca­tions show prom­ise, but we know that with an or­ga­ni­za­tion our size, year-on-year growth and mean­ing­ful change is go­ing to take time,” said Nancy Lee, Google’s vice pres­i­dent of peo­ple op­er­a­tions.

Just 18 per­cent of Google’s world­wide tech­nol­ogy jobs were held by women en­ter­ing 2015, up a per­cent­age point from the pre­vi­ous year. Whites held 59 per­cent of Google’s tech jobs in the U.S., while Asians filled 35 per­cent of the po­si­tions, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

The slight uptick in women stemmed from a con­certed ef­fort to bring the num­bers up. Google said 21 per­cent of the work­ers that it hired for tech­nol­ogy jobs last year were women. The Moun­tain View, Cal­i­for­nia, com­pany added 9,700 jobs last year, although it de­clined to spec­ify how many were for pro­gram­ming and other open­ings re­quir­ing tech­ni­cal knowl­edge.

Over­all, Google em­ployed 53,600 peo­ple at the end of 2014. In the U.S., just 2 per­cent of Google’s work­ers were black and 3 per­cent were His­panic. Cut­ting across all in­dus­tries in the U.S., 12 per­cent of the work­force is black and 14 per­cent is His­panic.

The lat­est snap­shot of Google’s work­force comes roughly a year af­ter the com­pany pub­licly dis­closed the gen­der and eth­nic makeup of its pay­roll for the first time, cast­ing a spot­light on a di­ver­sity prob­lem vex­ing the en­tire tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try. Other well­known tech­nol­ogy trend­set­ters, in­clud­ing Ap­ple and Face­book, sub­se­quently re­leased data re­veal­ing sim­i­lar di­ver­sity prob­lems.

Mor­ti­fied by the dis­clo­sures, Google and most of its other tech­nol­ogy peers have been pour­ing more money into pro­grams steer­ing more women, blacks and His­pan­ics to fo­cus on science and math in schools and have stepped up their re­cruit­ing of mi­nor­ity stu­dents as they pre­pare to grad­u­ate from col­lege.

Civil rights leader Jesse Jack­son, who has been spear­head­ing the drive to di­ver­sify the tech in­dus­try, ap­plauded Google for re­leas­ing its work­force data again to help keep the pres­sure on the tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try to change the com­po­si­tion of its pay­roll.

“Tech com­pa­nies must move from the as­pi­ra­tion of ‘do­ing bet­ter’ to con­crete ac­tion­able hir­ing to move the nee­dle,” Jack­son said in a state­ment. “We aim to change the flow of the river.”

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