Why Google Revealed It's Mostly a Bunch of White Men

PHOTO: Employees smile while working during a media tour for the grand opening of Google Inc.s new office in Toronto, Nov. 13, 2012.
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In an effort to be transparent about diversity in the workplace, Google revealed that its typical employee is white and male -- and that the Silicon Valley giant is far from having a representative makeup.

Women comprise only 30 percent of Google's workforce, while 3 percent of Googlers are Hispanic and just 2 percent black, according to diversity data posted on the company's blog.

"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," Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday night.

PHOTO: Google posted this graphic representing their workforce diversity to their blog, May 28, 2014.
Google
PHOTO: Google posted this graphic representing their workforce diversity to their blog, May 28, 2014.

The diversity data was collected as part of a report filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Companies are not mandated to release the information publicly, however Bock said in doing so he hoped to spark a discussion about the problem -- something he said is "a really important part of the solution."

The gender divide includes the company's worldwide numbers, while the ethnic data pertains only to the composition of the company's workforce in the United States, according to the blog post.

"There are lots of reasons why technology companies like Google struggle to recruit and retain women and minorities," Bock wrote. "For example, women earn roughly 18 percent of all computer science degrees in the United States. Blacks and Hispanics make up under 10 percent of U.S. college grads and collect fewer than 5 percent of degrees in CS majors, respectively."

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Google has invested more than $40 million since 2010 in organizations that bring computer science education to women and girls. Google has also been working with historically black colleges, Bock said, to bolster computer science courses and elevate attendance.

Earlier this year, the Rev. Jesse Jackson began leading delegations to annual shareholder's meetings in an effort to bring attention to the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley.

Jackson said he "commended" Google for taking the unprecedented step of releasing their diversity data and said he hoped other technology giants would follow their lead.

"Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated an ability to solve the most challenging and complex problems in the world," Jackson said in a statement. "Inclusion is a complex problem – if we put our collective minds together, we can solve that too. There's nothing we can't do, together."

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