Despite the many impressive technology advances that Google has brought the world, the tech giant still apparently can’t hire employees from minority groups.
This Thursday Google announced that in 2015 it made no progress in increasing the percentage of its staff from black, Hispanic and multiracial groups. The company had previously made a public commitment to improve its diversity, and invested millions of dollars in an attempt to do so, writes Seth Fiegerman for CNN.
Diversity figures still very low at Google
As of the end of 2015 only 2% of Google’s total workforce was black, while 3% was Hispanic. These numbers are unchanged from the previous year, the first in which the company had released its internal numbers.
In comparison 59% of the workforce is white, a drop of 1% from 2014. A further 32% of employees are identified as Asian.
Despite failing to improve the percentage of black and Hispanic staff, Google did see growth in the percentage of women working at the company. In 2015 that number hit 24%, up from 22% a year before.
“We saw encouraging signs of progress in 2015, but we’re still far from where we need to be,” said Nancy Lee, VP of people operations at Google.
Tech industry criticized for employing overwhelmingly white males
Apple, Facebook and Microsoft have also agreed to release transparency reports related to the diversity of their staff. Tech companies have been criticized for overwhelmingly employing white men, but so far little progress has been made in changing that.
Google invested $150 million in diversity programs last year, both for its staff and the tech industry in general. Among the initiatives are unconscious bias training workshops, reviews of promotion procedures and recruitment from historically black colleges.
The Google office in New York now has a space for non-profit organization Black Girls Code, and the company also appointed its first black board member.
Struggles to improve diversity figures can be at least partly attributed to the size of the company. With over 60,000 employees around the world, the company would have to hire hundreds of minority staff in order to nudge those figures.
This week Harvard Business Review published a report on decades of failed diversity programs in the corporate world, and painted Google’s own efforts as a big experiment.
“Leading companies like Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Facebook, and Google have placed big bets on accountability in the past couple of years,” the publication wrote. “They’re now posting complete diversity numbers for all to see. We should know in a few years if that moves the needle for them.”