TECHNOLOGY

A Quick Look at Google's Dim View on Diversity

The Silicon Valley juggernaut pulled back the curtain on its hiring practices, and the facts don't bode well for a more diverse tech community.
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Jobs, jobs, jobs. The tech boom is all about jobs. You'll get a job. I'll get a job. The economy will hum. Everyone will be happy. There will be peace and prosperity throughout the land.

Well, not so fast. Data released by Google last week, and first reported upon by PBS Newshour, shows that the composition of the tech giant's workforce is far from heterogeneous. If you're white and male, you're more likely to have a job--and probably a higher paid one--at Google than if you are non-white and female.

Hats off to Google for releasing the data in the first place. Silicon Valley has been notoriously secretive about its hiring practices. But the implication for other tech companies and tech startups is that you could do a much better job with hiring and diversity.

Check it out. Google reported that its total workforce is 70 percent male and 61 percent white. It's also 30 percent Asian, 3 percent Hispanic, and 2 percent black. Seventy-two percent of whites have leadership jobs, compared to 23 percent of Asians, and just 1.5 percent of blacks.

Why should you care? It's well known that companies that are more diverse are able to tackle problems holistically, incorporating the different perspectives imparted by people from different backgrounds. And you've all heard the stories about so-called groupthink and the other ills that can befall overly homogenous companies. 

The news is particularly disturbing, as it's a sign that a trend of less-diversity (rather than more diversity) is also the norm in one of the few thriving industries in America. Also not helping is the Supreme Court's recent ruling supporting Michigan's decision to strike down affirmative action for colleges in the state, making it harder for minorities to gain admission, eventhough study after study shows higher education is a surefire way to get better-paying jobs.

More companies should be transparent about hiring, as Google has chosen to be. It seems like a good first step toward remedying a recalcitrant problem. 


 

 

 

 

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Jun 2, 2014

JEREMY QUITTNER | Staff Writer | Staff Writer, Inc. and Inc.com

Jeremy Quittner is a staff writer for Inc. magazine and Inc.com. He previously covered technology for American Banker and entrepreneurship for BusinessWeek.




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