The tech industry is dominated by white males, and while it is getting better at being an inclusive and open industry, progress seems to be slower than it should be. Google has released its annual diversity report, which shows progress, to be sure, but very slow progress.
The company started its initiative to create a more diverse workforce in 2014, sparking a larger conversation among tech companies in the Silicon Valley, and prompting many other companies to do the same.
The latest data is from 2015, and shows that the overall percentage of non-White and non-Asian Google employees in the U.S. didn’t change from 2014. Two percent of Google’s employees are black, 3 percent Hispanic, 3 percent multirace, and 1 percent Native American and Pacific Islanders.
Thirty-one percent of Google’s workforce is made up of women, which is up by one percent from 2014. Women represented 21 percent of Google’s technical hires in 2015, which is up from 19 percent in percent in 2014. Not only that, 24 percent of those in leadership positions are women, up from 22 percent in 2014.
Despite the seemingly small changes, Nancy Lee, Google’s vice president of people operations, highlighted that these numbers don’t represent where Google wants to be. They also don’t show small changes that Google has made to address a lack of diversity. For example, it has changed its policy on deciding employee pay, now paying employees based on position rather than on negotiated rates, which would often lead to minorities and women being paid less. Not only that, but Google continues to invest in “unconscious bias training,” which target hidden prejudices that Google employees may not know they have.
Still, it’s obvious there are a lot of changes that need to be made to make the tech industry a more diverse place. The issues, however, go far deeper than simply the people companies hire — another big factor in increasing diversity in high-paying tech jobs is opportunity in education.