The latest edition of Google’s Diversity Report offers some signs that the company’s renewed commitment to a more diverse workforce is working, albeit at a slower pace than some might like.
“We’re still not where we want to be when it comes to diversity, but last year, we made progress in our efforts to build a more diverse Google,” the company admitted in a note on its dedicated Diversity page. “We’re hiring above our current representation of Blacks and Hispanics, and we increased representation of women in leadership and in technical roles.”
Women constitute 31 percent of Google’s staff. Last year, some 21 percent of the company’s new technical hires were women, which helped boost the number of women in technical roles from 18 percent to 19 percent of the company’s ranks. The number of women in leadership roles also climbed by 2 percentage points in 2015, to 24 percent.
Roughly 4 percent of new hires last year were Black, and 5 percent were Hispanic. (Two percent of Google’s current employee population is Black, and 3 percent is Hispanic.)
In the two years since it began publishing diversity reports, Google has claimed a concerted effort to adjust its employee demographics, concentrated around a handful of key efforts. It has prompted employees to take diversity classes; expanded hiring programs to more colleges; made computer-science classes more widely available to school-age children; and encouraged business owners of all backgrounds to participate more fully online.
All of those efforts are designed to bring a more diverse mix of potential employees into the pipeline. In addition, Google claims that it reviews how it hires and promotes to ensure fairness and equality. “For example, Googlers in engineering or product management roles are able to nominate themselves for promotion, and in 2010 we discovered that women in technical roles were less likely than men to self-nominate,” the company wrote in a recent blog posting. A few adjustments ensured that more women self-nominated.
As many a pundit has noted, however, diversity progress among the larger tech firms is slow, with incremental percentage gains every 12 months. If Google wants to diversify its ranks even further, its efforts will likely need to extend out a number of years.