Google to divulge diversity data on its workforce, for the first time

The tech company concedes that it has been "reluctant to divulge that data" and "quite frankly, we are wrong about that."

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Google

Heeding the words of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Google announced Thursday that it will make the diversity of its workforce public for the first time ever, according to the Associated Press.

During the company's annual shareholder meeting, in which the reverend was present, Google's public policies head David Drummond announced the change.

"Many companies in (Silicon Valley) have been reluctant to divulge that data, including Google, and, quite frankly, we are wrong about that," Drummond said, according to the Associated Press. "We are not doing enough and we can do a lot better."

The US government requires all major employers to file diversity statistics with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but employers have the option of releasing the information to the public. This will be the first time Google has opted to make the data on its 50,000-strong workforce available.

The move comes as tech companies are increasingly being pressured to add more females and people of color to their oftentimes all-white male staffs. Apple has been under fire for having only one woman and no minorities on its board, and Twitter also faced criticism for having no female board members right before it went public late last year.

While more women have been hired at tech firms in the past few years, their roles are not usually at the executive level. A study by CNN Money last year showed that women in tech dominated the "Administrative" category (which combined clerical workers, as well as skilled and unskilled laborers), but were significantly less represented as officers or managers.

As far as people of color, the Associated Press reports that about 7 percent of tech workers are black or Latino, while 13.1 percent of the US population is black and 16.9 percent is Latino.

The Rev. Jackson has been a longtime advocate of adding diversity to workplaces. He's recently been making the rounds to top tech companies urging them to put more of an emphasis on diversity when hiring.

"We won't know how good Silicon Valley can be until everyone can participate," the Rev. Jackson told Google's top executives during the shareholder meeting. "At its best, Silicon Valley can be a tremendously positive change agent for the world; at its worst, it can hold on to old patterns that exclude people of color and women from opportunity and advancement and hold back progress."

Google's diversity data is expected to be released next month. CNET contacted Google for comment and we'll update the story when we get more information.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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