Alphabet’s Google unit on Thursday disclosed more info on its two-year-old Google diversity initiative created to address the gender and racial imbalance in the tech industry, saying it had hired more Black, Hispanic and female employees in 2015, but still made slow progress in diversifying its workforce, which is largely made up of white and Asian men.
The company released the Google diversity report for the first time in 2014 and initiated a debate among Silicon Valley tech companies that resulted in many of its closest competitors to jump on the bandwagon.
According to the Google diversity report, the search giant’s overall percentage of non-Asian, non-white workforce the United States did not change at all in 2015 from the previous year, remaining at 2 percent for blacks, 3 percent for Hispanics, 3 percent for biracial individuals and less than 1 percent for Native American and Pacific Islanders, according to the company. Whites fell a point to 59 percent, while Asians rose 1 percentage point to 32 percent of workers. The tech company had about 38,670 employees in the United States in 2015, according to its report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission based on August 2015 data.
Women made up 31 percent of Google’s overall workforce of more than 60,000 employees last year, up from 30 percent in 2014, according to the statistics released. One in five technical hires last year, were women, increasing the number of women employees in technical roles to 19 percent from 18 percent in 2014 and 17 percent in 2013. Last year, women held almost a quarter of leadership posts at the company, up from 22 percent in 2014 and 21 percent in 2013.
While there were no changes in the percentages of minority employees, the report said in 2015, the Mountain View, California company had 880 African American employees, up from 628 in 2014 and 1,782 Hispanic employees, up from 1,428 the previous year. There were56 American Indian or Alaska natives, up from 44 the previous year and 712 multiracial workers, up from 636.
Nancy Lee, Google’s vice president of people operations, said the statistics do not exhibit where the company intends to be and said certain small changes that do not show up in the figures are having an impact.
She said that a talk on Google diversity initiative led to a discussion on pay equity, which resulted in a policy of paying the workers, according to position rather than by the terms negotiated, which was most often less for women and minorities.
Additionally, there are also other Google diversity initiatives in place. This includes a program where Google employees use work time to serve as trainers at historically black colleges and universities.
The statistics amplifies challenges these companies encounter in changing cultures that critics say are too similar, white and male-dominated. Facebook and Twitter’s diversity reports show a similar trend in employing blacks and Latinos, while Apple fared much better partially due to more diverse hiring at its retail stores. These companies largely use the same approaches to tap into a limited pool of talent, thereby hampering progress.