Google says Lack of Diversity in its Staff is a “Problem”, Vows to Make-Up for It

Thirty percent of Google’s employees are women, the company said, a figure that’s 17 percentage points less than the representation of women in the full United States workforce. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)
Thirty percent of Google’s employees are women, the company said, a figure that’s 17 percentage points less than the representation of women in the full United States workforce. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)

Google Inc. (GOOG:US) turned the spotlight onto the diversity of its workforce, saying that the composition of its staff “is not where it needs to be.”

Women make up 30 percent of employees, while 91 percent of workers are either white or Asian, the Mountain View, California-based company said today in a blog post, which provided the first detailed look at Google’s staffing.

Diversity is becoming more of key issue in Silicon Valley. Apple Inc. (AAPL:US), facing behind-the-scenes pressure from some shareholders to add more female directors and executives, added language to a board committee charter vowing to diversify its board. Social-networking companies Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc.(TWTR:US) were criticized leading up to their initial public offerings for not having any female directors. Facebook, Twitter and Google all have women on their boards.

“We’ve always been reluctant to publish numbers about the diversity of our workforce at Google,” Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, wrote in the post. “We now realize we were wrong, and that it’s time to be candid about the issues. Put simply, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity, and it’s hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts.”

Bock also highlighted the lack of qualified minority and female technology experts, citing a U.S. Department of Education study that women earn just 18 percent of computer-science degrees in the U.S., and that blacks and Hispanics collect fewer than 5 percent of computer-science degrees.

“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.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Burrows in San Francisco at pburrows@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net Reed Stevenson, Jillian Ward

SOURCE: Bloomberg News

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