Google finally discloses its diversity record, and it’s not good: Everybody else?

May 29, 2014 at 10:20 am 7 comments

Google is going to take a lot of heat for these low numbers, but let’s not forget how long the computing industry has hidden and actively protected its diversity numbers. Kudos to Google for coming forward! Now, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook? (Thanks to Rick Adrion for sending me this link.)  And then let’s get to work on making this better.

In an industry that has been famously guarded about its workplace diversity, Google on Wednesday disclosed its record when it comes to hiring women, African-Americans and Hispanics. The data reveals statistics that the company itself admits are too low and strikingly below other industry averages. Women comprise just 17 percent of its global tech workforce, according to data Google published on its website and released exclusively to the PBS NewsHour. When it comes to leadership, women only account for 21 percent of the top positions in the company, which has a workforce of just under 50,000 people.

via Google finally discloses its diversity record, and it’s not good | PBS NewsHour.

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Adding Coding to the Curriculum: Considering the claims High school CS teachers need to read and trace code, not develop software

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gflint  |  May 29, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I am not sure why Google would take a hit for these numbers. If non-whites and females do not apply for jobs with Google or are not in the job force it is not Google’s job to go find them or sponsor training to change Google’s statistics. A more telling statistic would be to see qualified applicant hiring trends. 30% female does not look so bad considering the number I have seen of females available in the tech fields.

    Reply
  • 2. bckirkup  |  May 29, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Actually, it is only bad in a simplistic, reductionist and outmoded way of assessing diversity. The number of potential confounders is substantial; the classic UC case http://www.sciencemag.org/content/187/4175/398.abstract should have warned people against this sort of simplistic analysis.

    As for modern thinking, the issue could be phrased in terms of economic opportunity, to address what are now considered the ‘real’ opportunity issues. On the other hand, it may simply be that addressing those issues by employment in the Google environment is not feasible.

    The potential responses are difficult – should Google aggressively recruit zero marginal productivity employees? If so, how should it employ them? Does it need a second business line (like Amazon’s blue collar labor force, sorting boxes) to assist in adapting employees to a culture of employment? Is this really what one would want, to combine an organization with different wage scales and cultures into one simply to balance some aggregate statistics?

    The easy answers to difficult questions are always wrong.

    Reply
  • 3. shriramkrishnamurthi  |  May 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

    The PBS article says, “The data shows that Google trails others when it comes to the tech workforce in particular.” Whitney says that there is a “norm of 20-24 percent”. Anyone know where these figures come from and whether they’re credible? My understanding is that the national CS female graduation rate is just below 20%, and while not everyone needs a CS degree to get a tech workforce job, it’s a bit hard to believe this % is higher than that of graduates.

    Also, despite what @gflint says (#1), Google and others _do_ seem to be putting in at least some effort to find and sponsor non-whites and females.

    The frustrating thing is watching the talking heads pile on and take shots. When I grow up, I’d love to be a media pundit too.

    Reply
    • 4. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  May 29, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      “When I grow up, I’d love to be a media pundit too.” Sorry, grownups aren’t permitted to be media pundits—you must remain stubbornly adolescent—certain of your views even in the face of overwhelming evidence against them. Being petulant and childish seems to help also.

      Reply
      • 5. gflint  |  May 29, 2014 at 1:33 pm

        Chuckle. You must also maintain a high level of ignorance of the topic being punditted. (Punditted apparently is not a word but it needs to be.)

        Reply
  • 6. gflint  |  May 29, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I do think Google and other companies are actively seeking to change their work force, I just wonder if it their responsibility. Google’s sponsorship of the CS4HS program is an attempt to broaden the opportunities for HS kids. This can only result in an increase in the diversity of qualified applicants for CS positions. It does bother me that we have to rely on industry to offer these opportunities and not the education system itself. Presently CS is extremely low on the HS curriculum priority list. Considering the power that CS related fields are having on the world the lack of interest by the US education system to bring CS into the main stream curriculum is troubling.

    Reply
  • […] is the article on Facebook’s diversity figure release. (Google really did lead the pack here.)  Here’s Twitter’s, LinkedIn’s, and EBay’s.  For those of us doing this […]

    Reply

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