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.