For the first time ever Google, "organizer of the world's information," has released pertinent information about itself. Only 2 percent of Google employees are black and only 30 percent are women. No wonder the corporation, consistently voted the one of the best places you can work, has "always been reluctant to publish numbers" showing who has been locked out.
The data is from January of this year. According to its latest SEC filing, Google currently employs 49,829 people. The ethnicity breakdown is only for U.S. based employees, where Census data says the percentage of black people in America is at least 13.1 percent and the Hispanic population is at least 16.9 percent.
Google, a 16-year-old company, blames the lack of diversity of its staff on a lack of qualified candidates, without acknowledging how the cloistered tech campuses of Silicon Valley have a very particular pattern that they like to match. According to Google:
There are lots of reasons why technology companies like Google struggle to recruit and retain women and minorities. 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. So we've invested a lot of time and energy in education.
Telle Whitney, CEO of the highly-respected Anita Borg Institute in Palo Alto, told Mother Jones that corporations like Google got what they wanted:
Though the technology gender gap originates in college—only about 18 percent of computer science graduates are women—Whitney believes that the imbalance ultimately stems from the failure of Silicon Valley's leaders to groom more women for top positions, which in turn discourages younger women from entering the field. "First it has to be a priority to have a diverse workforce," she says. "And the priority has to come from the top."
In other words, wild moon shots like face computers and driverless cars are the priority, but not getting technology-obsessed segments of the population a job in the technology industry, even though when it comes to appealing to humans, Google needs the help.
It's hard to tell from looking at the numbers, but the fact that we can see them at all is progress. Really! After a year-and-a-half long CNN investigation, even federal contractors like Google, Apple, IBM, HP, and Microsoft petitioned the Department of Labor to keep the data about the gender and ethnicity of its employees a "trade secret."
With the release of today's data, Google has put pressure for transparency on its competitors, admitting that it was "wrong" for a data-gobbling monster to hide its own data from the public.
And with this mostly white, mostly male staff, Google wants to take over the world:
Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. We aspire to build products and provide services that improve the lives of billions of people globally. Our mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Our innovations in web search and advertising have made our website a top internet property and our brand one of the most recognized in the world.
Meanwhile, executive chairman and ex-CEO Eric Schmidt has been on a book tour advising other countries on democratic principles and recently gave a talk on inequality at Davos. At the end of the introduction to his book, Schmidt writes: "What happens in the future is up to us."
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[Image via Associated Press]