Google knows it has a diversity problem. But it's not as simple as changing hiring policies, the company claims, pointing the finger to education and qualification.
“Blacks and Hispanics make up under 10 percent of U.S. college grads and collect fewer than 5 percent of degrees in CS (computer science) majors,” company officials said.
According to the data revealed by Google, 70 percent of its workforce is male and 61 percent of its workers are white. Asian-Americans make up 30 percent of the workforce, while African-Americans and Hispanics are just 2 and 3 percent, respectively.
It’s not much better for women, as only 18 percent of computer science degrees conferred in the U.S. go to them. Although in 2012, women made up 47 percent of the labor force - and the number is expected to increase to 6.2 percent by 2020 - things at Google reflect otherwise.
At Google, women comprise just 17 percent of its global tech workforce - 30 percent if considered worldwide – and only 21 percent hold top positions in the company.
However, executives say that a lot of time and energy has been invested in education and Google has “given more than $40 million to organizations working to bring computer science education to women and girls. And we’ve been working with historically black colleges and universities to elevate coursework and attendance in computer science.“
Claire Cain Miller of The New York Times says Google's reasoning for the lack of diversity within its ranks are partly true.
“For instance, only 18.5 percent of high school students who took the Advanced Placement exam in computer science last year were girls. In eight states, no Hispanic students took the test and in 12 states, no black students took it. The problems start as early as childhood, when girls are discouraged by parents and teachers from pursuing technical pursuits,” she says.
However, she adds that tech companies must shoulder some blame. “There can be a sexist culture that turns away women, as evidenced by the high attrition rate among technical women as compared to men. And women who try to start tech companies face exclusion by a venture capital network dominated by a chummy fraternity of men.”
Still, many appreciate the fact that Google has come out in the open about the diversity issue:
Google's diversity stats are troubling but at least they're honest about the facts. They'll be leaders in this area. http://t.co/TFB5bva5MV— Jemar Tisby (@JemarTisby) May 29, 2014
Google cracks Silicon Valley's wall of silence on workforce diversity, confirming that it is largely white and male http://t.co/8SCjs6sXP0— tejune Kang (@tejune) May 29, 2014
But let’s face it: diversity remains a problem when it comes to the corporate American workforce.