Google diversity report shows efforts are "not enough"

The percentage of women employed at Google has grown just 0.3% since 2014, when the tech giant started releasing its diversity figures, its latest annual report has revealed.

Women comprise 30.9% of Google staffers, 24.5% of new tech hires, and 25.5% of the search firm's leadership positions, its 2018 diversity report shows. However, the company's workforce is still largely made up of men, who account for 70% of employees, with 53% of those being white - almost the same proportion as 2017.

Asian workers made up 36% of the staff, rising 1.6% from last year. Only 2% of Google staff are black and 3.6% are Latino, a small increase of 0.1% year-on-year.

For the first time, the company has provided a weighted attrition index that shows that both black and Latino workers are leaving the company at the highest rates: 127 black people left Google in 2017, and 115 Latinos did, compared to 108 white workers.

"Despite significant effort, and some pockets of success, we need to do more to achieve our desired diversity and inclusion outcomes," admitted Danielle Brown, chief diversity and inclusion officer.

"Although hiring and investing in the talent of tomorrow is critical - and we'll continue our work here - it's not enough. We must also renew our focus on development, progression, and retention, and ensure Google's culture is inclusive for everyone. Our leadership will share ownership for improved outcomes, taking actions based on the current state of their organization."

Screenshot from Google's 2018 annual diversity report

A lack of diversity is a huge problem across the technology industry, and Google came under scrutiny late last year when an internal memo written by engineer James Damore claimed biological difference was to blame for a lack of female engineers.

Damore was fired when the memo went viral, with Google accusing him of "advancing harmful gender stereotypes".

The lack of women in technology roles is a big issue throughout the sector. Just this week a group of female engineers and information tech specialists brought an unequal pay lawsuit against Microsoft, claiming the company blocked their careers and also froze them out during and after maternity leave.

The publication of Google's report came a week after Alphabet's annual shareholder meeting, where current Google employees called on the shareholders to support a diversity and inclusion proposal the company had recommended rejecting.

At the meeting, a handful of Google employees reportedly showed up to present a proposal aimed at increasing diversity by tying executive compensation to gender, racial, and ethnic recruiting and retention metrics. The Google employee who presented the proposal was Irene Knapp, who said the company's efforts had a "chilling effect" on diversity.

Main picture: Shutterstock

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.