Dev

Google’s gender & ethnic diversity v. computer science majors (in 1 chart)

Google released a refreshingly honest report about its diversity of women in minorities. The results weren’t pretty, with women comprising only 17 perfect of tech roles and African Americans at a tiny 1 percent.

Compared to the (still depressingly) homogeneous pool of computer science majors nationally, Google still has a way to go. According to statistics from the National Science Foundation, African Americans make up about 10 percent of computer science degrees nationally; Latinos, 8 percent. But since Google draws from a relatively affluent population of Ivy League-bound eggheads, we decided to also compare them to the demographics of AP computer science classes.

In other words, it could be that Google has a institutional financial discrimination issue, and the symptom is an overabundance of white men. Using this data, Google is a little closer to the average, with AP computers science test takers in 2010 being 19 percent female, 8 percent Hispanic and 4.6 percnt black [PDF].

Google is being admirably honest about its diversity issue. “We’re not where we want to be when it comes to diversity. And it is hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts,” Google explained in the report. The company funds many outreach programs to increase the diversity in tech. It even does its own data-geeky experiments, such as sending out internal emails containing academic studies about why employees don’t participate enough.

“The data was clear,” said Director Of People Operations, Laszlo Boch. “If we tried to have a small nudge by simply presenting information, it could fix part of the problem. We prefer this to a bureaucratic top-down approach.”

Ultimately, Google’s report isn’t that surprising. Google draws mainly from top schools, which are proportionally less diverse. Google would have to discover some very novel program to overcome structural difficulties. You can read more about Google’s diversity report here.

*A note on the minority statistics: The NSF numbers seem to diverge dramatically from a survey by the Computer Research Association that found about 3 percent of computer science majors were black and 5 percentwere Hispanic. It was surprisingly difficult to find reliable numbers of the demographics of computer science majors (not least of which because Hispanics are increasingly identifying themselves as “white”). Feel free to comment with a better data source below.

More about the companies and people from this article:

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

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16 comments
Nicholas M. Cummings
Nicholas M. Cummings

Finally someone commends them for admitting their fault instead of jumping on the outrage wagon

Tom Spencer
Tom Spencer

Yeah it's pretty much a unanimous decision

Josh Brown
Josh Brown

Wait. So Women are different than White people or black people? I mean come on is this statistics really surprising??? An interest in Computer Science starts at a young age usually with math classes and science classes (Which are the EXTREMELY lacking in the U.S.). More money is spent on Prisions and Law enforcement than revitalization of lower-income schools (which are predominately Black, hispanic, etc) I have an idea, let's take matters into our own hands as parents and educate our children ourselves instead of demanding other people make our kids into geniuses. smh.

Max Brown
Max Brown

"who cares about diversity," Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Oracle, Barclays, IBM etc etc. Tom, catch up! This is post AA!

Max Brown
Max Brown

that is because the focus is on the under represented groups but I am sure you knew that. Kudos (yet again) to Google.

data scientist
data scientist

How is it that Google's percentage is less than the CS major's in every category? It appears that one of those is not adding up to 100%...

Sarah Kimi McAleer
Sarah Kimi McAleer

I agree. It's true Asians often top the charts... but it does not mean there are not Asians who are not minorities.

Kat Shoa
Kat Shoa

No word about Asians or Indians? I bet they skew higher, especially in the Bay Area.

Sonja Breet
Sonja Breet

Time to address this disparity. More meaningful visas quotas (dedicated category for international female CS graduates) could help.

Pooch Land
Pooch Land

I would love to see a chart of women in leadership positions

Paul Paige
Paul Paige

I'd love to see a chart with age ranges of everyone that works there as well.