Google diversity struggles continue despite $150m investment

Google diversity struggles continue despite $150m investment

Google is continuing to struggle with diversity as new report shows just 18% of tech jobs go to women, while black and hispanic workers make up just five per cent of their US workforce.

The technology company revealed the figures in its updated demographic breakdown on Monday, with little progress in the recruitment of women and minorities being shown.

This new report comes a year on from the public release of the gender and racial makeup of Google’s payroll, which displayed a clear diversity problem within the company, and across the technology sector.

Google’s 2015 breakdown has shown only a small improvement towards a diverse workforce, despite the company reportedly investing $150million into increasing the recruitment of women and minorities.

Alongside other tech firms in the industry, Google has directly invested into programs that specifically target women, black people and Hispanics to direct them into the technology industry.

Companies have also worked to focus women and minorities on mathematics and science in schools, as well as increasing their recruitment level of minority graduates.

However, Google’s latest breakdown has revealed that of the 53,600 people employed at the end of 2014, just two per cent were black people and three per cent were Hispanic in the U.S.

 A sheer comparison when compared to the 59% of Google tech jobs occupied by white people, and 35% filled by Asian people.

Also shown was that of Google’s technology jobs worldwide, just 18% were held by women; just one per cent up from 2014, despite hiring women into one in every five of the company’s high-paying technology jobs last year.

Nancy Lee, Vice-President of People Operations at Google, remarks: “Early indications show promise but we know that with an organisation our size, year-on-year growth and meaningful change is going to take time.”

Conversely, although the new breakdown shows little improvement, Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader and activist for diversity in the tech industry, has commended Google for the release of its workforce data as well as for setting an example within the technology sector, and for putting pressure on other firms to diversify their recruitment:

Jackson commented that: “Tech companies must move from the aspiration of ‘doing better’ to concrete actionable hiring to move the needle. We aim to change the flow of the river.”

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Comments (6)

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous@ Anonymous
    Mon, 8 Jun 2015 6:07pm BST
    Lack of diversity is not necessarily representative of discrimination. Many factors can contribute to that. But in the case of businesses like Google where they are a B2C focused business, having a diverse workforce helps to keep them in touch with their customer base. So their is a tangible benefit to a diverse group of employees.
  • Bob
    Mon, 8 Jun 2015 4:41pm BST
    I don't get it... As long as a company is hiring the best person that is willing & able to do the job for the money offered (regardless of age, sex, race etc. etc.), why does it matter that they have a small number of women or minorities? Why spend $150 Million??
    I suppose if it impacts the service delivered to the customer, it's worth trying to improve but I'd love to see the argument that a female customer will only buy from a female producer or that a minority will perform a specific job role better or worse than anyone else... It seems a pointless tick box exercise so they can say ‘look at us! Aren’t we enlightened to work in a place with women and minorities!’ – daft.
    On a related note - "positive discrimination" is still discrimination & inevitably leads to resentment and an "us" and "them" mentality. Social categorization leads to social identity which leads to prejudiced views.
    Total cost of sponsoring an African village of 300 for one year would be about $136,400. They could have spent that £150M keeping 300,000 people alive for a year…

  • Kyle Lyles
    Kyle Lyles
    Wed, 3 Jun 2015 5:08pm BST
    On top of this, Google has one of the most endemic age discrimination cultures in the Valley.

    And it can't be brushed off as "new technologies", it's a culture of paying the lowest wages possible.
  • Jimmy Jones
    Jimmy Jones
    Tue, 2 Jun 2015 4:58pm BST
    If they used a Recruitment Agency they may have more luck finding a more diverse workforce.
  • anonymous
    anonymous@ Anonymous
    Tue, 2 Jun 2015 2:56pm BST
    It is a fact that there are more sectors that are male dominated, technology being one of them. I disagree that this is just a tick box exercise, workforce demographics goes a lot deeper than that. There are many reasons why women and minority groups are under-represented in organisations. Coming from a background in gender and race equality in the workplace there are many variables that are not noticed on the surface. These could be external facets as well as intrinsic facets, especially around the 'look and feel' of the sector which usually put certain groups off from applying. There is also a perception that certain groups are not represented in an organisation and if they are its usually at the lower levels of an organisation. I would put out a challenge to those who are sceptical about building a diverse workforce - look at your own organisation - is it representative of the people you serve - if not, why not? If a business customer base look like its workforce, would it still be in business?

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