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White and Male, Google Releases Diversity Data

google-chromeSAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — In a groundbreaking disclosure, Google revealed Wednesday how very white and male its workforce is – just 2 percent of its 50,000 Googlers are black, 3 percent are Hispanic, and 30 percent are women.

The search giant said the transparency about its workforce – the first disclosure of its kind in the largely white, male tech sector – is an important step toward change.

“Simply put, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity,” Google Inc. senior vice president Laszlo Bock wrote in a blog.

The numbers were compiled as part of a report that major U.S. employers must file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Companies are not required to make the information public.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg recently said the social networking company is headed toward disclosure as well, but it was important to share the data internally first.

Apple Inc., Twitter, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp. did not respond immediately to queries about possible plans to disclose data.

Bock said Google has been working to diversify, not just its offices but in the broader tech sector. Since 2010, the firm has given more than $40 million to organizations working to bring computer science education to women and girls, he said.

The company also is working with historically black colleges and universities to elevate coursework and attendance in computer science, he said.

“But we’re the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be, and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution,” he said.

Gender and ethnic disparities are reflected throughout the tech industry. About 7 percent of tech workers are black or Latino in Silicon Valley and nationally. Blacks and Hispanics make up 13.1 and 16.9 percent of the U.S. population, respectively, according to the most recent Census data.

In the coming months, Google said, it will work with the Kapor Center for Social Impact, a group that uses information technology to close gender and ethnic gaps in the Silicon Valley workforce. The center will be organizing a Google-backed conference in California focusing on issues of technology and diversity.

Co-founder Freada Kapor Klein, who started the Level Playing Field Institute 13 years ago to teach and mentor black and Latino students in science and math, said Google is showing leadership “which has been sorely needed for a long time.”

“Google is the company known for the moonshot, and applying that part of Google DNA to this problem is a breath of fresh air,” she said.

Earlier this year, the Rev. Jesse Jackson launched a campaign to diversify Silicon Valley, asking to meet with leaders of several iconic technology companies about bringing black and Hispanics into their workforce and leadership.

Since then, he’s been leading delegations to annual shareholder’s meetings at firms including Google, Facebook, eBay Inc. and Hewlett-Packard.

On Wednesday Jackson said Google is to be commended.

“It’s a bold step in the right direction. We urge other companies to follow Google’s lead,” he said. “Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated an ability to solve the most challenging and complex problems in the world. Inclusion is a complex problem – if we put our collective minds together, we can solve that too.”

Iris Gardner, a manager at nonprofit Code2040, which places high performing black and Latino software engineering students in internships with top tech companies, said Google’s disclosure could mark a pivotal moment in the push to diversify Silicon Valley.

“It is a big deal for them to be transparent about something that most companies haven’t in the past been willing to share,” she said

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  • Rags

    This story makes me nuts. I lived in Silicon Valley 20 years and it is well known that it is a place of meritocracy. For years, Jessie Jackson would come to town annually to “solicit donations” ( some called it a shake down) for his rainbow coalition from companies that he felt didn’t employee enough minorities. Unfortunately, he was mildly successful. But many CEO’s told him that they would be glad to hire African American EE’s if any were graduating from college. There are far too few. (If I remember correctly, TJ Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor took exception to Jacksons annual fundraising visits and told a local news agency that -”Jessie Jackson is like a seagull. He flies in, craps all over everything and then flies away).. Anyone who has walked by Google in Mountain View could have told you it’s a white company just by watching the employees on the sidewalks. Google claims to only hire the best and the brightest, regardless of race. This story only mentions blacks, hispanics and women. Visit Google and see how many Indians and Asians work there. It’s a lot. Many of the companies mentioned in this story are real “tech companies” – they are heavy with engineering employees who are typically white men. You find women represented more on the marketing, advertising and PR side. And the social media companies, who may not be quite so reliant on engineers have a better racial representation than the Intels and Apples etc. The Valley companies have a substantial and growing number of Indian and Asian employees and far fewer hispanic and African American employees. In fact, several years ago almost 15% of all Silicon Valley start ups were founded by Indian immigrants. If you’re smart and have the degree they are looking for, trust me, you’ll get hired in Silicon Valley. Now, Mitch Kapor starts his center for social impact in an effort to address these issues. Apparently Mitch has seen the light because as I recall. when I visited him several times at Lotus in Cambridge in the mid 80′s, it was a very white company he was running but it always hired the best and brightest. Of course that was when he was hiring Emglish teachers as programmers because he believed their background in sentence structure and logic was perfect for code writing. I wonder if he’d advocate for that today. If any of these folks, Jackson or Kapor want to effect change let them work at the local level. Work with local groups and high schools to help stress education and the proper degrees that tech companies are looking for. Stop looking to the companies to fund and fix, what are much bigger social issues. Let the meritocracy that has given us these great companies, do its’ work.

  • That Guy 1

    Hire the qualifications, not the skin color and gender. This is exactly what’s wrong with this country! Stop with the, “We need more diversity” crap. If women and minorities want to be a part of the IT sector, then they’ll get qualified and subsequently hired for it. It’s the same crap they deal with in Engineering. They want more minorities and women to create more diversity, but if they’re just not there, it’s not going to happen. In my classes at school, we have an average class size of about 35, most of the classes are taken by the same students, so the faces are familiar. In the class of 35, we have 1 Hispanic, 2 African Americans, and 1 woman. So because of this drive for diversity, regardless of their grades, they’ll get hired before I do… that’s crap, sorry, but it’s just crap. How can you possibly have a diverse workforce when minorities and women aren’t even taking the classes? If you have 3 African Americans to every 97 Caucasians in a graduating class, and all of them get hired, then you’re only going to have 3% in the workforce; you can’t simply improve that. But all of that comes with interest in a subject, drive to get it done, and also ability to do so. You can’t just create that, it’s not just something you fix. They have this “Drive for Diversity” in NASCAR in an attempt to get more minorities and children involved in racing. Raise your hands if anyone has ever has a minority male or woman come up to them and say, “Hey man, how about that race this weekend?”

    • 413

      You have obviously not been to the Charlotte area…Nascar is huge there doesnt matter the color. Assuming that the 3 minorities will be hired before you simply because of race is not giving credit where credit is due…maybe they will get hired before you because their grades are better, maybe they have the necessary skills to do the job, maybe they will be more liked in an interview, maybe they interview more smoothly and the company feels that they will be better suited. There could be a number of reasons. I graduated in the top 10% of my high school class of over 400 students and yet I had a professor and student tell me that I only got into the engineering program because I was black. They didn’t care that I was in the top 10% and aced all of my math and science classes (and I took honors and AP courses my entire high school career), they looked at my skin and made horribly prejudice comments to make me feel undeserving.

      The unemployment rate for black college graduates is almost 3 times higher than that of their white counterparts so this tells me it is very likely that there are many qualified black people out there that can do the job but are just not being hired. It has been proven that if you have a “black” sounding name your resume will most likely be passed over. Many may be more than qualified but are assumed to not be because prejudice still lives on.

      • That Guy 1

        AI’m not assuming that would be THE reason, I’m just saying that’s what WILL happen. Kind of hard to ignore when I maintain a 4.0 QPA. Business is business, when tax incentives are given to hire minorities and women, they’re not going to pass up the opportunity. And sorry, but top 10% in a high school class isn’t special, sorry to break it to you. Top 10% in your high school class makes you part of an esteemed group of student across the country of about 3 million people… Even if you’re first in your class, you’re still one of hundreds of thousands. They weren’t being degrading, they were being real. It’s time people stop feeling so damn special. In MA in particular, one of the REQUIREMENTS for winning a construction contract through the state is that the company must employ a certain percentageof minorities and women.

        • 413

          Maybe the person that gets hired before you had a GPA of 4.1 and served as an officer in a professional society or completed more internship hours than you. How would you know the true reasons why unless the hiring manager sat you two down and told you exactly what the situation was and why you were passed over. Suggesting someone only got into school or got a job because of their race is extremely degrading. 10% may not mean much to you and definitely wouldn’t have gotten me into Harvard, but it meant a lot to me where the top 10% of the class was extremely competitive with most of the GPAs falling between 3.7 and 4.0. I worked hard to get good grades, graduate high school with honors and be a well rounded student, so please don’t try to lesson my accomplishments. I would never discredit someone else’s accomplishments. I know how hard it is to obtain and keep a 4.0 GPA so congrats to you. I also know based on MY personal experiences that I had to work TWICE as hard as my white counterparts to graduate with my engineering degree because the moment I walked into my first class, my freshman year, a professor took one look at me and made it known he did not think I belonged there. I was lucky that many of my classmates (and now friends) saw the mistreatment and stood up for me.

          If tax incentives were given and minorities were given priority, the unemployment rates for minorities would be significantly lower than they are right now but they are not. They are still twice as high as all the other races. My company employs 5 minorities. ..5!! Is it because they aren’t interested…definitely not because I have seen several come in for interviews. Is it their credentials? Is it their personalities? What is it that makes them get passed up 90% of the time if the company will benefit through tax incentives as you say and WILL take advantage when given the opportunity?

          • That Guy 1

            It’s like I said, none of it matters; it’s the way affirmative action works, period. BTW, you can’t have a 4.1 in college, so that right off the bat tells me you have NO idea what you’re talking about.

            And no, the unemployment rates would not necessarily be lower, because it’s so easy for minorities to get assisted housing and food stamps; but they can’t have an income over a certain amount (documented). That alone keeps minorities at a high rate of unemployment (36% of the entire Springfield population is Hispanic, and almost 80% receive government assistance according to BLS.gov, just one example). Also, minorities are ALL OTHER RACES! What are you, completely ignorant? And yes, a company WILL take the tax incentive provided people applying actually have the credentials and experience for the position. Since you clearly haven’t a clue, do you have any idea how many people apply for medical and have not a single bit of education? Look at the amount of people going to Branford Hall actually thinking they’re qualified for a job coming out, but no one will touch them… doesn’t matter what color they are.

            Of course you cannot know the true reason why someone is hired, but that’s not the point I’m making; the point I’m making, which should have been perfectly clear to someone that graduated so high in their class (lmao), is that minorities and women (because of affirmative action) HAVE to be considered before Caucasians in the work place. Not that hard to figure out. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to work.

          • 413

            I know what I’m talking about as I am talking hypothetical situations. Affirmative action doesn’t exist anymore…the supreme court knocked it down this year. Affirmative action was about having a certain percentage of minorities working for you and if you ask any HR department they will tell you that they are not required to carry a certain percentage of minorities. I thought this conversation was about comparing minority college grads to non minority college grads. The fact that someone went to Branford Hall and are still not qualified should be the fault of the school not the person..if someone pays to get an education to become an LPN then they should have the education coming out to obtain a job in the field. This is where ALL for profit schools fail.

            And no the point you making was that the 3 minorities in your class WILL get hired before you simply because of race. My point is that you have no idea why they were hired before you and making it just about race is degrarding.

            You can continue to insult me now because once a person insults another it means they know their argument is BS. Good luck with the job search. Maybe check back in with those 3 classmates of yours and see where they are in 5 years compared to where you are…it might open your eyes a bit. Have a good weekend.

          • That Guy 1

            I’m not so sure an astute observation is an insult. I’m not too worried about where anyone is going to be versus myself. You further display your clueless attribution as you’re trying to tell someone what their point is… that doesn’t work. If I’m at the top of my class, I don’t need to assume why they’d be considered for employment/hired first, I know. It’s the same for scholarship applications for college as well. It doesn’t matter if you’re first in your class, if you’re white, you’re still only considered after EVERY minority has been. That is an absolute fact. Black med students I know used to joke about it with friends, how they could virtually skate by and still be in a better position than the person graduating first. This isn’t hypothetical, it’s fact. You have an absolutely baseless argument considering that it’s obvious that you have no actual experience to go by, just assumptions based on nothing other than your bias. This is perfectly displayed by your constant referral to only blacks as minorities, completely disregarding all other races, and women.

            The next thing I want you to do is go to Springfieldcityhall.com, click on employment and pick any job, fill out and application, and submit. IN THAT APPLICATION they ask for you to voluntarily (of course) disclose your race and gender, specifically so that they can meet the laws and regulations of MA to fulfill the necessary quota for minorities and women. It says it right on their site. Then, feel free to state otherwise.

            And what do you mean by for profit schools exactly? Do you think the likes of STCC, AIC, WNE and so on don’t make profits? Umass profits in the tens of millions, the University of Pennsylvania used to clear almost $.5b before the sanctions due to the sex scandal.

            Honestly, where are you getting this crap? Also, feel free to point out where I’ve thrown out any insults at all.