In a groundbreaking disclosure, Google revealed how very white and male its workforce is; just two per cent of its Googlers are black, three per cent are Hispanic, and 30 per cent are women.
The search giant said on Wednesday that the transparency about its workforce – the first disclosure of its kind in the largely white, male tech sector – is an important step toward change.
“Simply put, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity,” Google Inc senior vice president Laszlo Bock wrote in a blog.
The numbers were compiled as part of a report that major US employers must file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Companies are not required to make the information public.
The gender divide is based on the roughly 44,000 people Google employed throughout the world at the start of 2014.
The company didn’t factor about 4000 workers at its Motorola Mobility division, which is being sold to China’s Lenovo Group for $US2.9 billion ($A3.14 billion).
The racial data is limited to Google’s roughly 26,600 workers in the US as of August 2013.
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg recently said the social networking company is headed toward disclosure as well, but it was important to share the data internally first.
Apple Inc., Twitter, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp. did not respond immediately to queries about possible plans to disclose data.
Bock said Google has been working to diversify, not just its offices, but in the broader tech sector.
Since 2010, the firm has given more than $US40 million to organisations working to bring computer science education to women and girls, he said.
The company also is working with historically black colleges and universities to elevate course work and attendance in computer science, he said.
“But we’re the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be, and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution,” he said.
Earlier this year, the Rev Jesse Jackson launched a campaign to diversify Silicon Valley, asking to meet with leaders of several iconic technology companies about bringing black and Hispanics into their workforce and leadership.
Since then, he’s been leading delegations to annual shareholder’s meetings at firms including Google, Facebook, eBay Inc. and Hewlett-Packard, but on Wednesday he commended Google.
“It’s a bold step in the right direction. We urge other companies to follow Google’s lead,” he said.
“Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated an ability to solve the most challenging and complex problems in the world. Inclusion is a complex problem – if we put our collective minds together, we can solve that too.”