Aug 9, 2017 - Technology

Google's diversity efforts fall flat

In 2014, Google started publishing employee demographic data and pledging to invest in major initiatives to recruit a more diverse workforce, spending at least $265 million on the efforts.

Why it matters: Google has been thrown into the controversy over Silicon Valley's lack of diversity and sexist culture by an internal memo by a (now former) employee ascribing some of the tech industry's gender gap to biological differences. The memo also suggested the company's efforts to hire a more diverse workforce have been ineffective.

On that point, the memo isn't far off. Axios took a look at the data released by the company over the last few years.

Bottom line: Despite Google and its parent company's public statements in support of diversity in technology and multiple outreach and community programs, it seems to have made little headway since it began publishing its workforce demographic data three years ago. For example, U.S. Latino employees now make up 5% of the overall workforce and professional jobs, up from 3% each in 2013, and women now hold 13% of leadership positions, up from 8%. At the same time, black employees still only make up 2% of all U.S. jobs, 2% of technical ones, and 3% of executive roles.

Google declined to provide additional information when asked how it evaluates the effectiveness of its efforts, pointing to its diversity website.

Some progress: Of course, it can be argued that these changes take time. Google has also highlighted the demographic makeup of each year's new hires to show results from its efforts. In 2015, for example, 21% of its new technical hires were women, while women held only 19% of all tech jobs at the company at the time.

Methodology: Axios used government EEO-1 reports filed by the companies that shows the racial and gender breakdown of their U.S. employees. We used "Professional" employees as a proxy for technical jobs, though the category does include other professions like accountants and lawyers.

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