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Google diversity report shows increased attrition rate for Black women

The internet giant concedes there's room for improvement in regard to retaining underrepresented employees.

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Google has struggled to retain Black employees, particularly women.

James Martin/CNET

Google increased the number of people who identify as Black and Latino that it hired in 2020 compared with the previous year, but the internet giant is also grappling with higher rates of Black and Latino employees leaving the company, Google said Thursday in its annual diversity report.

New hires of Black people increased to 8.8% in 2020 from 5.5% a year earlier, and hiring of Latino workers increased to 8.8% in 2020 from 6.6% a year earlier. But attrition rates for employees from those groups also increased.

Google's attrition index, which uses 100 as a baseline, showed 121 for Black employees in the US in 2020 compared with 112 in the previous year. Attrition for Latino employees increased to 105 from 97 over that same time period.

Attrition among Black female employees ballooned to 146 from 110, while it declined from 93 to 81 for Latina employees. Attrition also declined for white employees, falling from 117 to 112.

"When it comes to our efforts to retain underrepresented talent, we have room for improvement," Google said in its report, adding that it's holding itself accountable for anti-racism among its ranks.

Silicon Valley has been under an intense spotlight the past couple of years when it comes to diversity among its workforces, and with the increased scrutiny, tech companies have also dedicated money and resources toward shifting their demographics.  

Google made a slew of commitments last year aimed at increasing racial equity among its ranks, including adding more Black employees, as well as employees from other "underrepresented groups," to its leadership ranks. It also said it would increase investments in places including Atlanta and Washington, DC -- cities with large Black populations.

Google did make progress in 2020 toward increasing diversity in its leadership ranks, nearly doubling the number of Black people in US leadership positions, to 7.1% from 3.6% the year before.