USA TODAY US Edition
Google’s diversity still has ‘far’ to go
Company says 2015 was ‘encouraging ’ but progress is slow
Google, which two years ago publicly addressed the gender and racial imbalance in the tech industry by disclosing the demographics of its workforce, says it’s making slow progress in diversifying its staff, which is still mostly made up of white and Asian men.
“We saw encouraging signs of progress in 2015, but we’re still far from where we need to be,” Nancy lee, Google’s vice president of people operations, said in a blog post Thursday.
Women made up 31% of Google employees in 2015, up 1 percentage point since 2014, according to statistics released by the Internet giant Thursday. One in five technical hires were women in 2015, raising the number of women in technical roles to 19% from 18% in 2014 and 17% in 2013. In 2015, women held nearly a quarter of leadership posts at Google, up from 22% in 2014 and 21% in 2013.
Google says it’s also hiring more black and Hispanic workers: 4% of hires in 2015 were black and 5% were Hispanic. Hispanic employees in technical roles increased to 3% from 2%. But the increased hiring did not budge the overall percentage of underrepresented minorities in the Google workforce as total hiring rose, with Hispanics making up 3% of the workforce and African Americans 2%.
For tech companies with tens of thousands of employees, annual reports are a bit like Groundhog
Day for diversity. It’s difficult to make substantial demographic shifts in one or two years.
The push has gained a sense of urgency inside Google, which is looking to become a leader in diversity as it grows beyond search advertising into myriad other businesses in an increasingly global marketplace.
Whites are expected to become a minority in the USA by 2044, Latino and African-American buying power is on the rise and Silicon Valley has ambitions that now lap the globe. Having women and underrepresented minorities brainstorming and building, not just using, the products dreamed up by Google is quickly becoming a necessity.
“A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions and outcomes for everyone,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Thursday in a statement.
Google has dozens of initiatives that executives hope increase diversity, some directed at what Google is doing at Google and the rest at what Google is doing more broadly.
“The tech industry really understands that the future of our industry means we have to be more inclusive,” Lee told USA TODAY last year. “We are literally building products for the world. It can’t be this homogeneous.”
Despite efforts over the past two years, most Google employees are white (59%, down from 60% in 2014) and Asian (31%, down from 32% in 2014); 81% of technical roles are held by men.
“A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions and outcomes for everyone.” Google CEO Sundar Pichai, in a statement Thursday