For years, many technology companies have flat out refused to release numbers on where they stand when it comes to diversity of its workforce.
Although big companies are legally required to report race and gender statistics to the federal government, firms such as Apple, Google and Hewlett-Packard have convinced the Labor Department that the data is sensitive and should be withheld from the public. I’ll give it to Google for taking the first step and leading the way in actually providing its data.
This has been an issue that I’ve been following for years, so it’s good to see a company of their stature step up to the plate, acknowledge the issue and commit to changing it. The tech leader’s latest announcement is just the tipping point in a national issue that is barely inching toward any resolution.
Google reportedly has 46,170 employees worldwide. Its diversity numbers reveal that while 70% of its workforce is male, only 30% is female, a figure that’s 17% less than the representation of women in the U.S. workforce today.
What is more startling is its ethnicity figures, which only accounts for the U.S.: 61% are white, 2% are black and 3% are Hispanic; 30% are Asian and 4% are of two or more races.
Look even closer and you’ll discover Google’s technical staff is 60% white, 34% Asian, 1% black, 2% Hispanic and 3% of two or more races. In all, 80% of employees are white, 12% are black and 5% are Asian. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, people of color in tech exist at a far lower rate than the national workforce average.
As Google mentioned in its blog post, yes, there is a pipeline issue. However, when will the argument go beyond that “safe” statement and include tangible strategies to ensure the tech landscape is more diverse?
An ideal approach should be multi-pronged with consideration of short and long-term solutions.
Yes, let’s make sure HBCUs and other institutions that have high concentrations of minorities are up to par and producing the talent that our future needs. Yes, let’s make sure that programs that are directly working on this problem are funded — more specifically, programs focusing on the employees and entrepreneurs of tomorrow, our youth, and programs that work to train individuals to code. The pipeline certainly does need to be filled, but it doesn’t stop there.