Google It: Tech Giant Workplace Mostly White Males

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  • SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — In a groundbreaking disclosure, Google revealed Wednesday how very white and male its workforce is — just 2 percent of its 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.

    The gender divide is based on the roughly 44,000 people Google employed throughout the world at the start of this year. The company didn’t factor about 4,000 workers at its Motorola Mobility division, which is being sold to China’s Lenovo Group for $2.9 billion. The racial data is limited to Google’s roughly 26,600 workers in the U.S as of August 2013.

    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.

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