Google recently released the demographics of its employees, and there’s a clear trend. It predominately employs white and Asian men.
“We’ve always been reluctant to publish numbers about the diversity of our workforce at Google,” the search giant’s head of human resources, Laszlo Bock, recently wrote in a blog post. “We now realise we were wrong, and that it’s time to be candid about the issues.”
We can understand the hesitance: The homogeneity at Google is startling.
Here’s the overall percentage breakdown of its staff, according to the Google blog:
Unsurprisingly, the technical roles are more extreme:
The nontechnical numbers, on the other hand, are pretty even:
And the leadership gap is stark:
The billion-dollar question is why. Bock argues that it’s a systemic issue, mentioning that women “earn roughly 18% of all computer science degrees in the United States. Blacks and Hispanics make up under 10% of U.S. college grads and collect fewer than 5% of degrees in CS majors, respectively.”
But it’s possible that hiring may also contribute. Organizational psychologists have found that firms tend to “replicate” themselves because managers hire people who they share a “spark of commonality” with. In other words, you’ll get hired for a position if you remind the hiring manager of him or herself.
Applying that pattern to Google, it would follow that if you don’t share the same West Coast, elite background as the Googlers scrutinizing your application, you’d have less of a shot at getting hired.
Having diversity at all levels is not only important, but it’s good for business. Diversity of race, gender, socioeconomic class, and even thinking style creates a richer culture, heads off groupthink, and is good for the bottom line.
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