Today, one of the valley’s biggest employers, Google, is finally opening up about workplace diversity and how it goes about hiring women and minorities.
The gist is that Google knows it has a problem and it’s sorry, but Google says it’s not entirely its fault…there’s just not enough women and minorities in tech.
No surprise here from a giant tech firm in Silicon Valley, the odds are 7 male to every 3 female Googlers. But break that down into tech and non-tech jobs and the numbers skew much more heavily for male at 83%. It’s no better on the race front, either, with the highest minority being Asian at 34% in tech and next to non-existent in anything else.
The company, who let everyone know they’d be doing this at their annual shareholders meeting – and in the presence of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his diversity coalition Rainbow PUSH, admits readily, “…that Google is miles from where we want to be when it comes to diversity.”
They’re not alone in the valley here, as a CNN Money poll of 20 top tech companies shows similarly dismal figures. Those numbers were apparently hard to come by. Most companies, for obvious reasons (read, the numbers are bad) don’t want to disclose how few women and minorities they employ in tech here in Silicon Valley.
Google says its aim in doing this is to open up the discussion and begin to fix the problem:
Being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution.
Rev. Jackson also attended a Facebook shareholders meeting earlier this month to push for more diversity there. He then sent letters on to other tech giants including eBay, Apple and Twitter (none of which have released numbers) to encourage more diversity in the tech space. The US Government is no help here, either.
There’s a plethora of historical numbers out on women, minorities and the workplace, but it’s pretty scant in the tech sphere. While Google does come out and admit it has a hiring problem, it says the reason for this is a lack of qualified candidates. From the blog post:
There are lots of reasons why technology companies like Google struggle to recruit and retain women and minorities. For example, women earn roughly 18 percent of all computer science degrees in the United States. Blacks and Hispanics make up under 10 percent of U.S. college grads and collect fewer than 5 percent of degrees in CS majors, respectively.
Google may have a point, here. According to the National Council of Women in Information Technology (NCWIT), Google’s stats fall just below the average of women in computer science and engineering degrees at 25%.
Still, this is Google. Don’t they have the resources to recruit better?
Even though it’s one of the largest minority groups already, Google has a plan to educate others about Asian culture in hopes to retain this minority. No mention of how it plans to educate, retain or recruit the other minorities, however.
Gotta throw Google a bone, though. Not every tech company is willing to show their numbers so starkly. It’s very mature. It may even encourage other tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft, etc. to open up, admit there is a problem and start to look for ways to solve it.