As the conversation continues about diversity in tech, Google has finally released data on the company's gender and ethnicity breakdown. The numbers, a Google exec freely admits, are "not where we want to be when it comes to diversity." But a larger picture of Silicon Valley shows diversity in tech has actually gotten worse in recent years.
Overall, Google is 70% men and 30% women. Ethnically, Google is made up of 61% white people, with the next closest ethnic group being Asians at 30%.
When you filter out the "non-tech" employees, the numbers lean even more heavily to the male side: 83 percent men. Finally, when you look at the breakdown of people in leadership roles at Google, you can see why the company was so reluctant to release the numbers earlier: those Google leaders are 79 percent males and 72 percent white.
"There are lots of reasons why technology companies like Google struggle to recruit and retain women and minorities," Google Senior VP of People Operations Laszlo Bock explains, pointing to figures such as women only early 18 percent of the Computer Science degrees in the U.S. or Blacks and Hispanics make up less than 5 percent of CS degrees. To rectify the situation (and deflect any bad PR that could come with the data), Bock explains that the company has been investing millions in bringing computer science education to women and girls, as well as historically black universities.
But the reason for Google's reluctance to share this data might be more complicated than just bad PR. As Mother Jones reports today, most large companies are required to divulge the sort of data Google posted online yesterday, but Google, Apple and Oracle effectively convinced the Labor Department to hide their numbers years ago by calling it a "trade secret."
To get a bigger picture of the diversity problem in Silicon Valley, Mother Jones unearthed Labor Department data on the top 10 tech firms including Apple, Google, Oracle, eBay, Facebook and others. The biggest take-away from reporter Josh Harkinson's research is not simply that Google and tech firms are still overwhelmingly white and male, but that things have actually gotten less diverse in the past 10 years. Advocate groups for women and minorities in tech have pinned that decline on everything from the Valley's reluctance to groom women for leadership positions to importing skilled workers on H-1B Visas.
For more insights, including a debunking of these tech companies' efforts to diversify their workforces, Harkinson's report over at Mother Jones is a must-read this morning.