Only 2% of Google's American Workforce Is Black

For the first time ever, Google has released data on the composition of its staff and the picture is pretty white (and male).

The technology industry is frequently thought of as a place that’s heavily white and male, and often unfriendly, if not hostile, to women. Google took a look at its own diversity record and released the data to NewsHour and in a blog post, and it confirms many fears.

According to the data, women make up 30 percent of the company’s total workforce, and 21 percent of its leadership. Only 17 percent of its technology employees are women. It’s data that the company hasn’t released before, and much more than others in the tech industry have made available.

Only two percent of the company’s total U.S. workforce is black, and three percent is Hispanic. Asians are comparatively overrepresented given their share of the U.S. population, making up 30 percent of the company’s American employees.

The gap is most acute among the company’s tech workers. Here’s the full breakdown of the company’s technology-specific workforce, which at Google mostly means engineers. The top two gender numbers are global, and the race numbers are from the U.S. only:

Numbers for gender reflect global composition. Numbers for race reflect employees at offices in the U.S.

It’s impossible to compare Google to peer companies, because they haven’t publicly released similar data, but reported numbers have been even lower elsewhere.

The motivation for releasing the numbers, according to Google human resources head Laszlo Bock, was because it’s difficult to address these issues unless they’re out in the open and backed up by facts. The release was made in the hope that Google will be able to recruit and retain “many more” women and minorities in the future.

Part of the issue is availability of candidates, and the company is focusing on education. According to the Google blog post, women earn about 18 percent of computer science degrees, and blacks and hispanics, less than 5 percent.

“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,” Bock writes in the post.

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Max Nisen writes about management for Quartz.

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