Diversity at Google Off to a Good Start

After the rash of disappointing Silicon Valley diversity reports, Google seems to be the only one publically announcing plans to improve. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

It’s been more than a year since Google published its diversity statistics, starting a trend amid the big Silicon Valley tech companies and confirming what women and minorities already knew: The industry is mostly populated by white and Asian men.

But, unlike some of the big name tech leaders, Google is doing something about it. According to Business Insider today, the company’s VP of people operations Nancy Lee published a blog post outlining the concrete ways the company has changed its numbers in the past year, and its plans for 2015.

Lee told USA Today Google spent $115 million on diversity initiatives in 2014, and plans to spend $150 million this year. According to Lee’s blog post, those efforts and resources will focus on four key areas:

1. Google will expand the number of schools it recruits from to build a more diverse workforce. “In the past two years, we've doubled the number of schools where we recruit, to promote student diversity. This year, nearly 20 percent of the hires we make from a university are from these new campuses.”

2. A formal program called Diversity Core will help to promote a fair and inclusive culture. “Half of all Googlers have participated in our unconscious bias workshops — and we’ve now rolled out a hands-on workshop that provides practical tips for addressing bias when we see it. We’re also drawing on the idea of 20 percent time to enable employees to use their time at work to focus on diversity projects. In 2015, more than 500 Googlers will participate in Diversity Core, a formal program in which employees contribute — as part of their job — to the company’s diversity efforts.”

3. Google will develop a program to help teach kids to code and help to change the perception of computer science. “Since research tells us that to inspire more girls, we need to show them that computer science isn’t just for boys, we started Made with Code— and we’re working with the entertainment industry to change the perceptions around CS and what it means to be a computer scientist.”

4. The company will help more small business owners get online. “We also want more underrepresented communities, including women and minorities, to share the benefits of the web, and to have access to the economic engine it provides. The Accelerate With Google Academy helps business owners get online, grow and drive economic impact.”

Google hasn’t revealed its new diversity statistics, but says it plans to soon. They will shed some light on whether this great start is having the desired result.