Diversity? Google's Workforce Is 70% Male, 60% White

Google published its first-ever internal diversity report, revealing a workforce that's 70% men and 60% white.

It's easy and funny to skewer Silicon Valley's caricature as a white male patriarchy--especially in the boardroom--for one awful reason: Because it's true.

There is no easy fix for the technology industry's ongoing and well-documented struggle with diversity. But understanding why the problem exists at an institutional level is important if things are ever going to change--and that requires transparency. For the first time, Google, the tech industry's current bellwether and our reigning Most Innovative Company, has published internal diversity numbers that turn a hard mirror on its workforce.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Google's internal numbers reveal a company comprised overwhelmingly of white dudes.

"We've always been reluctant to publish numbers about the diversity of our workforce at Google," writes Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of People Operations at Google, in a blog post. "We now realize we were wrong, and that it's time to be candid about the issues."

Overall, Google's workforce is comprised of 70% men. 61% of Googlers are white, 30% are Asian, 3% are Hispanic, and 2% are black.



When you burrow down into technology jobs like engineering specifically, the gender gap widens considerably: 83% men versus 17% women.



Google, while emblematic of the problem, is hardly alone. A 2011 study conducted by the College Board painted an illuminating, if grim, picture of unevenness in our education system. Although black and Hispanic students account for 30% of the overall population, they account for just 12.5% of all engineering bachelor's degrees. Meanwhile women, according to separate findings, account for just 18% of technology and science degrees.

"There's an economic imperative for more diversity," Mary Fernandez, CEO of MentorNet, told Fast Company earlier this year. "You had better be tapping all potential talent... Women have to be part of the story. Latinos have to be part of the story. First-generation college attendees have to be part of the story."

Obviously, there are no easy short-term answers. But Google, to its credit, seems willing to roll up its sleeves and invest in the future, which starts early on in a student's educational career. "We're the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be," writes Bock, "and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution."

You can read the rest of Google's diversity report here.

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11 Comments

  • Quality minority and female candidates are out there --- you just have to find them; development and promote them. I've been a diversity oriented recruiter for going on 43 years now and I've noticed no problem in finding top talent from the underrepresented groups. The true problem lies in the frontline hiring decision makers who prefer "hiring in their own image"--- and in their inability to retain key minority talent. Attrition in most companies for minorities is always high. It's no wonder most corporate entities, particularly in the boardroom, are white-male.

    Kudos to Google for showing their numbers. Now they need to show the fortitude to start making a recognizable difference by engaging, investing and partnering with the multitude of service providers, organizations and academia who are a part of the solution and are ready now to a move forward.

  • The problem stems from our sub-par, racist, public education system. Black and Latino kids have to put up with so much crap from racist teachers and faculty it kills the desire to learn and makes them just want to get out of school. Period. Drop and and not come back. I know because I went through it myself and if it weren't for my grandmother being a science and math teacher who tutored me at home, I would have also failed. I had lots of racist and sexist teachers who didn't want to take the time out to provide 1 on 1 attention to kids who needed extra help because they were black. They would suspend them for stupid crap. Even I got suspended one time for not saying the pledge to the flag. It has nothing to do with Blacks and Latinos not having interest or merit. Their chance to gain interest and merit in technology and self-esteem are killed by other adults when they are kids so they have no desire to do anything but what comes easy because their self confidence is shattered.

  • Ray Anselmi

    Oh give me a break! It sounds to me that you are using race as a crutch. We all go through stuff like like that whether we are red white black or brown. It's funny how it always turn to a race thing when minorities are involved. Always playing the race card. Please put your race card back in your pocket.

  • Philip Smeeton

    You have to be beware of lowering the level of competence if you give preferential treatment to minorities. All positions should be given on merit alone, the best qualified candidate gets the job. Race and gender should not be a factor.

  • Steve Kravitz

    "Google, while emblematic of the problem, is hardly alone."

    Since when is a company's workforce being completely reflected by and representative of the population it serves a "problem"? Seriously???

  • Cathy Caps Caplener

    Companies need to simply hire the right person for the right job. They do not need to have what they are calling Diversity HR managers to find the right women and minorities for jobs. Google is in the heart of tech and there are plenty of women techies who would love to work for Google. And when you think about how women are the ones who are the main buyers of consumer products why is a Google not hiring more women who will help it develop products that are suited for women? And there are many reports out there stating that this year more women are graduating with tech and science degrees than men. So companies should be rolling out the red carpets for them and not worry about filling a quota for perception purposes.

  • 60 percent white should not be an example used to claim lack of diversity. The U.S. is 63 percent white... You could argue that whites are underrepresented by 3 percent.

  • "White" people make up about 77% - 78% of the US population, so the underrepresentation is actually more acute.

    The over-representation, when it comes to race, is clearly people with Asian ancestry, at 30% of google (vs. a national population of 5% or so).

    But I guess "Google is a company run by white men" makes for a better headline.

  • Joseph Meyer

    Is there any responsibility on the part of under-represented groups to see the opportunities in these fields, and take the necessary steps and do the hard work to prepare themselves to enter them? Or is it entirely up to the companies involved somehow to haul people into themselves?

  • Xan Shian

    It's about a system - a culture - that caters to the white male. It isn't about companies being open to employees of other races, or of the female gender, but rather an entire culture that makes it nearly impossible for people of other races - usually lower income - to break out of their bracket and enter careers such as the above at Google. In other words, such a granular approach isn't going to answer any of your questions. Look at the larger structure - the ideological state apparatuses that contribute to this kind of imbalance. Maybe the US is 60% or 70% white, but why is this section of the population considerably more affluent? What is it about the entire cultural framework that means a certain gender, race, is allowed to be considered above the others?