Google Too White, Male, Executive Says

Brandon Dimmel's picture

A senior executive at Google thinks his company has a serious racial diversity problem. Recent statistics released by the high-profile technology firm, which reveal that just 2 per cent of Google's workforce is black, appear to support that claim.

Google Overwhelmingly Male, White, Stats Show

Earlier this week Google released diversity numbers which show that 61 per cent of the company's workforce is white while 30 per cent are Asian. Only 2 and 3 per cent of Google's employees are black and Hispanic, respectively.

Google is also overwhelmingly male, with men making up 70 per cent of the company's workforce. That means less than one in every three Google employees is a woman. Men also currently dominate Google's upper echelons, representing 79 per cent of high-ranking employees. The stats also show that 72 per cent of Google's top-ranking employees are white. (Source:

Google Executive: It's Time for a Change

Lazlo Bock, Google's senior vice president of people operations, thinks it's time for that to change.

Bock, who helped to compile the recently released diversity numbers, says that "being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution." In an effort to change those numbers, Bock says Google is funding computer science education for historically underrepresented groups, like women, blacks, and Hispanics.

But Google is hardly the only high-tech firm dominated by white men. Four years ago the National Science Board revealed that women held just 28 per cent of science and engineering jobs, with visible minorities -- such as Hispanics, blacks, and Native Americans -- holding just ten per cent of these positions.

Another report focusing on the years 2000 to 2010 shows that the number of blacks and Hispanics working in the San Francisco Bay Area increased by a tiny margin, while jobs for whites increased by roughly 10 per cent. Interestingly, the number of jobs held by Asians decreased significantly over that same period.

Population Changes Will Force Companies to Adapt, Expert Says

It's worth noting that racism may not be the only factor behind these statistics. Laura Weidman Powers, an executive director at a San Francisco-area non-profit that promotes racial diversity in Silicon Valley, says there are other factors to consider. "Referrals are a huge source of inbound talent for these companies, even when you look at a company as large as a Google or a Facebook," Powers said.

Of course, as the population of visible minorities grows, many tech companies will be forced to adapt. "For any company that has a consumer-facing product ... the communities that use that product will look different," Powers added. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Do you think Silicon Valley has a racial diversity problem, as suggested by Lazlo Bock? If so, do you think major tech companies are doing enough to change the situation? Do you agree with Powers that it's only a matter of time before companies are forced to change their hiring practices, or do you think they will remain relatively unchanged in years to come?

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SmiffTech_2365's picture

The purpose of an organization is to provide the best product possible. If it starts making decisions based on considerations other than improvement it will decline. Minority hires just for the sake of diversity will degrade the company.

Boots66's picture

I full heartedly agree - I have seen good organizations go down the tubes over my years and I am not a spring chicken - Why? Rather then take the best person for the job, they start worrying about the damn political correctness of their situation - Should we hire visble minoritys, whites, blacks, whatever colour of skin,Gays or Straights, male or female - again Whatever!! - If it happens that a 31 year old white male and a 25 year old black gay female are in the top place for the job, then the employer needs to best determine who will do the best job for them and help to best build the company - worrying about hiring more women as the example if they can't do the job, just so it can be shown that they have more women in their workforce is business suicide down the road.

John Beatty's picture

They will be so busy filling quotas nothing will get done.

pc7wizard's picture

Just eliminate Bock's bonus. Permanently. Then you can hire some illegal aliens, women, and blacks all at minimum wage to balance your PC quota. In order to develop software, hardware, you need a Bachelor's degree in Electronics or Computer Science.

Not too many women, blacks, hispanics enrolled or possess a degree. The Asians have everyone beat, they love computers!

As for Ms. Powers comment, "You need to get minorities enrolled in technical degrees, stop trying to force high tech companies to hire under-educated people!"

So, the best advise I have for Google, don't lower your high standards for anything or anyone.

Rock on, Google. and close those holes in the Android OS!!!

f58tammy's picture

I find it surprising to read so many comments that sound just like the ones 50 or even 60 years ago in the opinion columns of any local news paper (my generations equivalent of today's blog). It has been in this past decade that we have heard of all the talk about how "affirmative action" is no longer needed in this country.

Personal attacks on the messenger serves no purpose in a real discourse of the problem. That the education system in this country is still in need of repair. Which will still take decades for any change to make a difference in the workforce.

As to the one comment, why is he assuming that automatically a woman would not be able to do the job? Instead we need to ask why haven't we as a society made sure that everyone has been given the tools to do the job right.

Ask any fortune 500 company and they will agree that diversity in the workforce, including upper management is a must for a company's growth.

As to myself I am a 56 year old white male to female transgendered woman (and yes I have a job).

matt_2058's picture

What's next, equalize the most-black NBA team? How about the most white NHL team? Better yet, how about an equal amount of Asian influence in both of those sports?

Big mistake to force a demo change, unless that is the company's priority. Take a look around. Who enjoys the type of work most? White males. Being a tech USER is not the same as WORKER. Same with other things that appeal to certain cultures or areas. Sometimes there is just not alot of interest from that diversified pool.

c_hirst_2382's picture

The R&D Section that I worked in had only one female engineer (she was brilliant!) among about eight or nine employees. There where no females in the Engineering Section and one or two in the Programming area. Admin was mostly female and Security and Marketing entirely male.

I was taken to task about the lack of females in my section but was able to say that 100% of the females who had applied for a job had been employed and I had lost count of the number of males who had been unsuccessful.

sssteve72's picture

People need to quit inventing problems.

So this VP thinks it's a problem therefore it is ? The world has enough problems without people inventing them on their own.

Also using the number of people who actually work there is a bad comparison.

How many applied for the job?
How many were qualified?
Who were the best candidates for a particular position?

If only 5% of your applicants are women or are Hispanic etc... then it stands to reason that the majority of your workforce likely won't be them.

Businesses should put qualified applicants first and "diversity" should always be last if at all.

AGarryF's picture

This is going to hit Asian employees very hard.

61 percent of the Google workforce is white. That is actually lower than the 64% white proportion for the general population of the United States although it is 1.5 times higher than the proportion for California (41% white).

The Asian situation is very different. The Google workforce is 30% Asian. That is 6 times the 5% in the population of the United States, and it is even 2.25 times higher than the 13.2% of the California population.

How is Google planning to drastically lower the percentage of Asian employees?