Photographed by Claire Pepper.
"We’re not where we want to be when it comes to diversity," says Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations in a statement released to PBS NewsHour yesterday. "It is hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts. All our diversity efforts, including going public with these numbers, are designed to ensure Google recruits and [retains] many more women and minorities in the future."
This statement preceded a broadcast which released the long-sought numbers regarding Google's employee-diversity data. Many tech companies have been pressured to divulge such information, but few have caved. In Google's case, the reticence is clear. Here are the facts:
In an industry often scolded for it's "bro culture" and persistent lack of diversity, Google's record isn't even above average. In fact, it's below, particularly when it comes to tech hires that aren't white or male. Telle Whitney, president and CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, tells NewsHour, "Google’s technical workforce is made up of only 17% women, which is lower even than the abysmal norm of 20 to 24 percent."
While Google has been praised for this release, which indicates a greater dedication to transparency and addressing this problem, others note that there is simply no excuse for these numbers. Tech educator and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa responded, noting that “about a quarter of today’s pool of highly experienced software developers is female, and a company such as Google — which has its pick of the crop of new graduates as well as experienced engineers — should have far greater diversity.” (PBS NewsHour)